While checking on the garden (and putting back cardboard mulch that was blown around), I spotted some new growth.
This is an apple gourd! I’m hoping it was pollinated and will continue growing. It looks like 3 of the 4 apple gourd plants are going to be productive, but this one is definitely the largest and strongest. The fourth one remains barely visible!
We have two more Baby Pam pumpkins developing! I hand pollinated these ones myself, just in case, and it seems to have taken. That makes a total of 3 of these pumpkins trying to grow. As these are a small, short season variety, we might actually have ripe pumpkins to harvest this fall.
The kulli corn is getting nice and tall! It’s time to take the net off and see if we can wrap it around the side, leaving the top open, for the corn to reach its full height.
Those bean plants are huge! This bed was made with trench composting, and it seems to have made a difference.
Rearranging the net will give a chance for some weeding, too, but it doesn’t look like this bed is having weed problems! 😄
The nearby ground cherries are getting very robust!
This is what ground cherry flowers look like. 🙂 I’ve finding quite a few flowers, and developing fruit. I’m looking forward to these!
I was finally able to settle in and weed this overground bed. The netting around it may keep the groundhogs away from the carrots, but it prevents casual weeding, too.
Unfortunately, I did end up accidentally pulling a couple of purple carrots in the process. It’s really hard to pull up crab grass next to carrot greens!
There aren’t a lot of the one type of turnip, but at least there’s something. The Gold Ball turnip are simply gone. They were the first to germinate, and disappeared almost immediately. I’d hoped that, while weeding, I might find some survivors, but there’s nothing. I don’t know what ate them, any more than I know what is leaving so many holes in the other turnips. We planted 3 types of turnips, but only one has survived – so far.
I did manage to have a sad little harvest this morning. A handful of the shelling peas, and a few raspberries.
Which is better than no harvest at all!
While at my mother’s, yesterday, we went looking at the garden plots outside her apartment. She has one little corner with some low maintenance plants in it, but some of her neighbours have better mobility and are growing a remarkable amount of vegetables in those little plots. One person has peas. They are pretty much twice the size of our own peas even though, from the stage of the developing pods, they had to have been planted later than our own. Even so, they were smaller than pea plants should be.
It’s been a hard gardening year for so many people!
Heading out this morning, Potato Beetle really wanted out of the sun room – but was content to stay once I refreshed his food bowl and added some treats and catnip. 😉 I really want to get some meat back on those skinny bones of his. It’s going to be hard to keep him in the sun room until after he’s had his vet visit, but we don’t dare let him out, or we might not see him again for weeks.
At least he’s finally started using the litter box. 😄
This guy is one of the other reasons why I don’t want to let Potato Beetle out.
I’ve been trying to get close to The Distinguished Guest and get a better look at his injury, but it’s all I can do to get even this photo. He used to let me near him while he was eating, and even pet him at times, but no more. He’s far more nervous.
The older part of the injury looks like it has fur trying to grow back. It seems he’s been injured at least twice, possibly three times, in the same area, with the wound extending further across his shoulders each time. This is Sad Face’s doing, and the few times I’ve been around to break up the fights, I can see how this one spot keeps getting hurt again. Sad Face managed to latch on to there and hang on, even as they roll across the yard as they fight.
What Sad Face is doing to TDG, TDG has been trying to do to Potato Beetle, and I would really like to prevent that!
Of course, once the kibble started hitting the trays, all manner or cats came running, including some little ones. 😊
The kittens love dashing into here. They are still small enough to be able to turn around inside it. At the other end, they can get under the entry way of the cat’s house.
Later on, I saw a mama nursing this fuzzy one, and the fourth, darker tabby that is even harder to catch glimpses of. The other two of this bunch were in the board pile, with the bitty kitties. 😊
I’ve taken to leaving small amounts of kibble by the grape vines regularly now, instead of at the pump shack, and here you can see two of the oldest kittens had come out. Later on, I just caught a glimpse of the tabby, disappearing under the spirea. Once in a while, I’ll spot them at the kibble house, too, but they get startled off very easily.
I don’t know why, but all of the outside cats seem to be acting super nervous lately. I’m used to them moving away when I get close. Every now and then, though, I’d be able to touch Broccoli while she was eating in the kibble house, or give Rosencrantz some pets. These days, not even Rosencrantz will let me near her. They all are acting like big balls of anxiety. The only exceptions have been Rolando Moon, who likes to follow me around while I do my morning rounds, and Potato Beetle, who just loves attention. Not sure what’s going on!
It’s just past 5pm as I start this post, and I could go to bed right now! What a day it has turned out to be.
One of my husband’s disability payments came in today, so it would be our normal day to go into the city and to at least half of our monthly stocking up shopping in the city.
Except, I got a call from my Mom last night.
Her apartment is being sprayed for bed bugs again, today. She needs to be away from the spray for at least 12 hours. Last time, she stayed at my sisters, but she did not want to do that. There is a motel right next to her building, so she was going to book a room there. They did not have any vacancies, however.
After talking to her about it, I ended up calling another motel in town and booking a room for her, and arranging to be at my mother’s place before the exterminators showed up.
Which meant doing my morning rounds (and finishing off the outside kibble bin!) earlier than usual.
I had a sad find.
One of our highbush cranberry saplings had been chomped! It was doing so well, too. 😥 I doubt it can recover from this. I figure it was a deer. Nothing else seemed to be damaged, at least. Not that I stuck around to check too closely. Since I was going to be leaving soon, I didn’t use any bug spray. I got eaten alive! How aggressive and voracious they are this year!
A short version of my rounds done, I headed out with my mother’s car, since I was expecting to drive her to her motel room. Since the road closed sign was removed earlier this week, I drove up our road, through were it was washed out this spring.
What an excellent job done on the repairs! I can’t remember the road ever looking so good. 😁 They built it up a bit, too. Hopefully, that will prevent it from getting washed out again.
The motel I booked my mom at is with the gas station I usually go to. I had to fill her tank anyhow, so I went ahead and got her registered, got her key, and even went ahead and paid for it, so she wouldn’t have to bother. Not having a credit card threw them for a bit, as they don’t really have any alternative. They took my driver’s license number, instead. Then, just in case, I made sure to leave my contact information along with her information, in case of emergency.
Then it was off to my mother’s. Last time, they showed up right at 9 and they did her apartment first, so I was sort of expecting the same. I was about half an hour early, which gave us time to bag up her bedding, and I cleared her storage closet floor that she forgot about. She didn’t back up anywhere near as much as last time. She’s just so tired and frustrated. She kept saying she only saw two bed bugs this morning and she killed them, so it should be fine. She simply refuses to accept that there would be more of them that she can see, and that she would not be able to see the eggs at all. No amount of cleaning or running her fingers along the edging of her mattress to squish things will get rid of them. Not only does she refuse to believe me (or my siblings; we’ve all been trying to explain it to her), but she’s starting to get angry at being told this. She isn’t getting it, and not because she can’t understand our explanations. She simply refuses to accept it. This is only the second time her apartment is being spray. One of her neighbours was getting sprayed for the 6th time!
The exterminators, however, didn’t arrive at nine. By 10, we were wondering what was going on. I ended up phoning the provincial department that owns her building. It turned out they didn’t start with this town this time. They started in another town, about a half hour’s drive away. There was no way to know when they would arrive at my mother’s building.
In the end, I just had to leave. I needed to get to the city. My mother had a neighbour that would be able to drive her to her motel (I’m so glad I got the key already!), so I promised I would check on her on the way home, then went on to the city.
Since I was using my mother’s little car, a Costco trip was out of the question. There’s no way her car could fit our usual Costco trips. Instead of the usual 3 or 4 places I usually hit on these trips, I only did two. The first was a Walmart, where getting more cat food was a priority. I got only four 9 kg bags this time. Usually, I get six 7kg bags of their house brand, but the cats don’t like it as much, and I decided the bigger bags was worth it.
It’s a good thing those bags have waterproof linings on the inside, because while I was loading the back of my mother’s car, I got hit with a deluge of rain! At one point, I thought it might actually turn to hail.
Hatchbacks provide zero shelter! With our van, I could at least have had partial shelter under the lift gate, but a hatchback does nothing!
I spent just under $300 at the Walmart, and half of that was cat food, including a case of wet cat food. And that’s only about a third of what we need for the month.
Next, I went to the international grocery store we like, where I could also pick up some dim sum for breakfast… er… lunch! 😂 This is the store where we can get things like a big slab of uncut bacon, and a particular band of energy drinks no one else seems to carry anymore.
One thing I did NOT get here was butter.
Those brand name butters used to be just over $6 a pound. Now their regular price is almost $10! We’ve never bought these butters, and would just get the house brand. Those are almost $6 a pound, now. Not that long ago, they were in the $3.50 range.
I just checked out an exchange rate converter. As of today:
Cdn$9.79 = US$7.47
Cdn$9.99 + US$7.62
Sale price $8.49 = US$6.49
Cdn$5.99 = US$4.57
The last time we were at Costco, their house brand butter was just under $5/US$3.81 a pound. I hope they haven’t gone up much, since! We typically buy 10 pounds of butter for 1 month.
I didn’t buy butter, but I did end up buying some ghee. The sale price for the jar was almost $23/US$17.54 It’s shelf stable, though, and has a higher smoke point, to it may be worth it. We’ve never used ghee before. If we like it, we’ll learn how to make our own ghee.
The shopping done, I headed home, making sure to stop to see how my mother was doing along the way. I even remembered to pick up a little something for her to snack on along with her complimentary coffee. Only it turned out there was no en suite coffee set up. The complimentary coffee was at the gas station. This is the gas station that has the excellent fried chicken and wedges my mother likes so much, so when I got her her complimentary coffee, I also picked up enough chicken and wedges for a couple of meals. With the exterminators taking so long, I figured my mother hadn’t had lunch at all, and I think I was right. She was quite ready to have her “supper”, even though it was not even 3pm yet! 😁
Since I had stuff in the car that needed to be refrigerated, I couldn’t stay too long. She was well set up, though. My sister will be taking my mother home tomorrow, and helping her wash her bedding. I’ll be back again with the equipment for my mother’s sleep test, the day after. The equipment needs to be returned to the city on Tuesday, so that will be a good time to do the rest of our stock up shopping.
Once at home, Potato Beetle had to be put into a carrier in the sun room before the car could be unloaded. After everything was unloaded and I’d topped up the kibble trays outside, as well as his in the sun room, I made sure to give him some of the kitty treats I also picked up. I think he forgave me the indignity of being put into the carrier for that!
Exactly a week from now, he’ll be at the vet getting snipped, then it’s another 4 days in the sun room before we can let him out again.
As for me, I am practically falling asleep in my chair as I type this! These trips drain me at the best of times, but all the extra stuff with my mother just sucked the energy out of me.
I wonder how badly I’ll screw myself up if I got to bed at only 6pm? 😄
Oh, crud. I just remembered. My mother’s car is still in the front yard. I forgot to put it in the garage!
Guess I’d better put some pants on and take care of that.
This afternoon I worked on pruning away some low hanging branches on the Chinese elm by the chain link fence. We’ve pruned these a few times over the past few years, but they fill in again so quickly! It had gotten to the point that some branches were overhanging our “parking lot” – which meant they were also starting to shade the tomatoes we have planted against the chain link fence too much.
Thankfully, we have a really good, really long, extended pruning saw! Once I got the biggest branch down, it uncovered a bunch of dead branches that I took down as well. The branches were big enough that I had to break them down before I could haul them to the branch pile for chipping. I also used the loppers to cut away a whole lot of new little branches that were low enough to snag on my hat every time I walked by!
While it wasn’t an exceptionally hot day today, it was still hot enough to make the job less than pleasant. What I found myself really wanting to do was be able to just sit down in the shade every now and then. There’s nowhere to sit in that side of the yard. So, when I was done cleaning up the branches, I decided to go into the barn and see what I could find to build something.
This is what I came out with. Three pieces of scrap wood.
They’ve been in the barn for a long time, so I hosed them down and gave them a scrubbing to get the worst of the dust and dirt off.
I had only a general idea in mind of how I wanted to build this. There’s one 10 inch wide board for the seat, and a 2×4 for the legs – and it’s actually a true 2×4; I was wondering why these boards seemed bigger than the usual 2x4s you get from the lumber yard. Those are cut to 2×4, then shrink while curing, so they’re actually 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. The third board, with the white paint on it, is that kind of 2×4, and you can see the difference in size in the picture. I added that board for structural support.
For the legs, after cutting off the rotten end of the board, I was able to cut four pieces at 20 inches long. That left a slightly shorter piece that I used for a centre support. I then cut six 9 inch pieces for cross pieces and structural support. The legs for the ends were joined with the cross pieces at what will be the top of the legs. For the slightly shorter centre leg, I lined it up with the others and added the cross piece so that they all matched in height.
Normally, I would have used screws for this, but I didn’t want to fight with our drill, so I dug up a bucket of nails we found while cleaning out the house that were long enough.
Then I flipped them around and added more cross pieces to the pairs of legs, to make sure they wouldn’t wiggle out of place. For the support leg in the middle, I added another cross piece to support the seat. The board had a section of tree bark on it and was rounded, so I could only manage two nails on one side. Not as strong as I would have liked, but it should hold.
Then it was time to add the seat. Which was a pain in the butt. I don’t have any clamps. The bench pieces were laid out on its side, and I had to support the leg pieces with my legs while I nailed the seat in place. Since the legs are an inch narrower than the seat itself, I also had to hold the leg pieces up half an inch at the same time. It actually worked far better than I expected! 😄
Once I had a single nail in each leg, I could lift the bench up off its side, and do the rest of the nailing.
I had company.
The big black and white kitten came back to see what I was doing!
It is so very cute!
There we have it! The bench is done!
It’s actually a bit of a mess. I was using a hand saw or the mini-chainsaw to make my cuts, and they are far from straight or tidy. I’m sure the lengths aren’t exact, either. But then, it’s also going to be sitting on uneven ground, so it really doesn’t make much of a difference. Once the legs are settled into the softer ground, it’ll work itself out. In fact, it seemed just fine when I tested it out and sat in the shade for a while.
The seat hadn’t completely dried out from being washed, though! 😂
I should probably add some angled pieces under the seat to prevent any wobble, but between the cross pieces under the seat and the centre support, it’s pretty sturdy. With the legs at 20 inches, plus the thickness of the seat, the bench is slightly higher than typical, which makes it much better on my wrecked knees. Setting it up against the log border of this bed means that I can use the log as a foot rest, too.
All we need to do now is pick up some more paint. We’ve got the tree stump bench near the garden that needs to be painted, too.
So far, we’ve got the picnic table in a bright, almost peacock blue, and the kibble house is a bright yellow. The inside of the outhouse is a pale mint.
What colour do you think I should paint the benches? Should we go with something bright again? Or more subtle? I find myself thinking a deep red would be nice. Or maybe a green similar to the lilac bushes beside it?
I went ahead and picked our single patty pan squash. It’s supposed to be all yellow. This is the size we like them at best. Summer squash are supposed to be more productive the more you pick them, but right now, I’m not even seeing any more female flowers.
This is the most raspberries we’ve had yet. Usually, I get to pick one or two in the mornings, and that’s it.
I also found a single shelling pea that was filled enough to pick.
I ate it.
It was tasty. 😊
We are actually going to have cherries this year! We’re going to need a ladder to pick them, though. They’re almost all only at the highest branches!
While puttering around the yard and gardens – and enjoying the fact that I can walk through the maple grove again, I kept hearing a constant buzzing noise. It sounded like I was hearing thousands of bees up in the trees, but I couldn’t see them.
I figured it out, though. It’s that time of year!
The linden tree is in peak blooming time now, and was the source of the buzzing!
Not a lot of flowers are on the lower branches, but even they were full of insects.
Turn your volume up to watch this. The microphone didn’t actually pick it up very well – it was MUCH louder in real life!
This would be the idea time to harvest the flowers, but honestly… I don’t know if I’d want to get in the middle of all those insects! Not all of them will be stinging insects, of course, but with how much they’re constantly moving around, there’s always going to be at least some nearby! When I was in my early teens, I remember harvesting the flowers for my mother by standing on a ladder and dropping them onto a sheet on the ground below.
While I was working outside, my husband worked his magic, and fixed our internet problems. Now let’s see if I can catch up before another thunderstorm hits!
First, we gotta have the kitties!
The calico that hands out with the bitty kitties must have been really hungry, because she came over to join her brother (sister?) in the kibble house! they’re over on the left, and you can just barely see her behind her sibling.
I left a bit of food by the grape vines, and the black and white kitten from the oldest litter showed up for breakfast. 🙂
The fourth kitten ran off before I could get my phone out. Throughout the morning, I was able to pick up and hold the two on the right a couple of times, but not the fuzzy one. The other black and white kitten disappears so fast, I barely see it, never mind try to touch it!
As for the adult cats, Potato Beetle is still in the sun room – and he really wants to leave! Unfortunately, he doesn’t like to use the litter box, so I did have a mess to clean up. I’ve been making sure his water was a frozen water bottle in it, and have even left the door open into the old kitchen, in case he wants to go somewhere cooler. It’s difficult to keep him in, when I have to go in and out of the sun room with tools so often.
I have noticed one thing, though. He is still limping! The last time we took him to the vet, it was for his limp, and they found some puncture wounds, but not much more. They figured the tooth or claw that caused the punctures caught on a tendon, too. Still, I would not have expected him to still be limping after all this time!
Oh, the thunderstorm is almost on us! Glad I finished up outside when I did. 🙂
Something weird happened with our intern during a storm last night. We lost internet, but it didn’t come back right. At the moment, I can only connect with my phone. It won’t let my desktop connect. Even the tablet I use with our security camera can’t connect. It can’t even fund any networks.
My daughters tell me they have the same issues. Unfortunately, the modem is in my husband’s bedroom, and he’s medicated and asleep right now.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to figure out the problem, soon.
Today turned out to be quite pleasant out. Though we had some rain last night, it wasn’t enough to refill the areas that were turned into pools not long ago. More rain was being predicted, however, so today was dedicated to trying to get the lawn mowed! Especially some of the area that have been neglected, due to the conditions.
I was able to get more done around the outhouse, and some of the area behind the three low raised beds near the compost ring. I also got some of the area in the spruce grove cleared. Nowhere near what needs to be done, but I at least cleared the stumps from the dead trees I cut down last year. The grass and weeds were so tall, the stumps were completely hidden, as was a tree top that fell in high winds a while back. That needs to be dragged out to the branch pile for chipping. It’s next to the dead tree marked with an orange X in the background. We’ve done no clean up in the spruce grove at all this year. The spirea is reclaiming much of it, even though I pulled them out by the roots as much as possible. They spread so fast! The Saskatoon berries can be picked, but they’re hard to get to with the undergrowth. Plus, the deer at the lower branches and twigs, so the only berries are way up high. The bushes are flexible and can be bent down to reach. I’ve made no effort to gather any. I’ve tasted some, and they’re not very good this year. Plus, a lot of them have … stuff… on them. Some, it looks like an orange powder. Others, it’s a tan colour that look like spores. Things like that. We had only one good year of berries since we uncovered them, but it looks like whatever fungus or mold or whatever that has been affecting the Saskatoons in other areas has hit these ones, too. I think we’re just going to have to bite the bullet, take them out completely, and buy healthy trees – making sure to plant them well away from where they are now! I’d had to plant new trees, only for them to get hit by something in the soil that’s making these ones sickly.
As for the stumps, we won’t be making them into benches or tables until after the dead trees around them are cut down, but I can still prep them. At the very least, I want to cut the tops straight, and debark them. Maybe apply some paint to the top to keep them from getting wet and rotting before we can attach things to them.
I FINALLY managed to mow most of the space in the maple grove. Well. Not most. We can access the branch piles now, at least. The other half will wait for another day.
I finally remembered to take a “before” picture, of sorts. It’s always so incredibly difficult to mow here, because of how uneven the ground is. Last year, I used the weed trimmer, rather than put the mower through it. Not an option, this time. It’s hard to tell, but in the background is where we tried to grow purple corn last year. The ground still has “hills” where the rows were, so I wasn’t able to mow there before. Some of the greenery in there was taller than me.
I managed to get that section done, just as it was starting to rain.
Normally, we would have all that area in the background mowed, too, but this is as far as we’re going to do, this year.
I estimate it took about 5-6 hours of mowing time for what I got done. That included mowing the paths to the Korean Pine trees. It’s been a while since we’ve made our way out there. I had to stop and uncover several of them to pull the weeds that grew up around them. The covers we’re using are not very high, so the weeds ended up filling the space. The covers are working well, but they are already getting to be too small. The saplings are touching the tops already. The one that got dug up by a critter, then replanted, is most certainly dead, though. One loss isn’t too bad, though. It could have been much worse!
Along with the rest of the maple grove, I still need to mow the other side of the garden area, and the parts of the outer yard where we drive that I’d been able to mow before. I won’t have enough fuel to finish the job, though. Any gas budget we have left is needed for the van or my mother’s car, so I won’t be getting more until pay comes in, but that’s just a few days away. It’s unlikely I’ll have another chance to mow anytime soon, though; we’re supposed to get thunderstorms over the next two days, then rain after that. I’m glad I got as much done as I did! It’s been quite frustrating, not to be able to get the work down outside that I’ve been wanting to. It feels good to get even this little bit done!
While working on breaking down the largest of the branches pruned from the ornamental apples, I heard a cat starting to “talk” loudly. This is something we’ve learned about The Distinguished Guest. He makes noises that sound like he’s talking!
The problem is, the only time he makes those noises is when he’s being aggressive towards another cat.
For the last while, Sad Face has been going after him – and winning. TDG has a nasty scar across his shoulder to show for it. If Sad Face were around, I wouldn’t have been hearing TDG talking. I would have heard an all-out cat fight.
There’s only one cat that is now lower on the pecking order than both of the visiting toms.
Making my way around to the pump shack, I spotted TDG with his fur sticking out like a bottle brush. He ran off as I came close. It took a bit longer to spot Potato Beetle, flattened in the tall grass. He was more than happy for some pets, that’s for sure!
He was also looking very skinny. I knew TDG would go after him again if Potato went for the kibble trays. Thankfully, Potato actually likes being picked up and carried, so I took him to the sun room, where his own personal food and water bowls await him.
He was very, very hungry!!
After topping up the food and refreshing the water, I left him be. When I headed into town to get the mail, I sent a picture of him to the Cat Lady. She has us booked for 2 females for spays and shots on Aug 3, but she had space available for 1 male, too.
If we can keep Potato Beetle in the sun room until then, we can get him to the vet to be neutered at the same time.
That’s just over a week, though. It will not be easy to keep in there for that long. Plus, he’ll need to stay another 4 days for recovery. We’ll also have to keep a close eye on the temperature in there. We aren’t expecting excessive heat for the next while, but it does get quite hot in there. If necessary, we’ll bring out some ice packs or frozen water bottles to help him keep cool.
For now, at least, he’s quite enjoying his own personal sanctuary!
As for the other cats, the girls took care of feeding them again this morning. I had been leaving food by the pump shack for the oldest litter of kittens that’s in there (and possibly a baby skunk…), but they forget that. Which is okay. The kittens are used to eating kibble by now. They’ll be looking for it. Which meant that, when I came out not long after, I spotted an unfamiliar black and white kitty butt, at the tray on the ground beside the kibble house. It ran off when it heard me, which is when I saw the tabby and the tuxedo, hiding in the spirea by the storage house. I did try to get pictures, with no success.
I did, however, get a different kitty!
A very thirsty little kitty!
He seems a bit more skittish around me right now. My managing to pet him and briefly pick him up seems to be something he does not want to happen again – at least for now! Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to try playing with him again, and convince him to let me touch him again.
The Cat Lady has a bead on someone on a farm that is looking for a cat. She was talking about possibly trapping one of the kittens and getting it fixed. I wonder if they’d be okay with an adult cat, instead? Potato Beetle really deserves a better situation than what we can give him, with the visiting toms beating on him.