Our 2022 garden: progress

With all the rain we’ve been having lately, the garden is loving it. Who would think, after all that flooding in the spring, that would even be an issue?

The Red Kuri winter squash is doing so well, and starting to turn colour. We have a little more than 3 weeks before our average first frost. We may just have enough time for these to fully ripen.

The other squash are blooming and growing like they should have, in the spring. I’m still holding out for a long, mild fall so we can at least get summer squash, if not more winter squash!

The variety of sweet corn we have is not particularly tall, but these are still quite a bit shorter than they should be – but they are putting out tassels, which means we should be seeing silks, soon too. Even the Tom Thumb popcorn is perking up. Those only grow to about 2 ft high, and some of them are almost there. They are sending out tassels, too. Their cobs only grow a few inches long.

We might actually have corn this year!

This is my big surprise. The tiny, barely making it, eggplants are blooming, too! Well. One of them is. I thought these ones were a complete loss. They probably still are, but one can hope!

The paste tomatoes are really starting to turn nice and red. We’re at the point where I’m wondering if I should start harvesting most of them and letting them finish ripening inside. Less chance of critters getting to them before we do, but then we’d have to find ways to keep the inside cats out of them.

I’ll be harvesting more tomorrow. It’s still mostly beans, but I should be able to pick a fair number of cucumbers, too. We don’t have enough to warrant trying to pickle them, but enough to make some cucumber salads! It’s the same with the beans. There’s more than we can eat in a day or two, but not enough to make it worthwhile to break out the canner. One of my daughters has just been blanching and freezing the excess for now. It’ll be when we do the tomatoes that we’ll finally get into some serious processing. 😊

What a mix of things doing well, things failing, and things struggling in the garden this year.

The Re-Farmer

Morning disasters, and morning cuteness

What a rough start to the day.

But first, some cuteness.

I think we can safely assume this tortie is a Broccoli baby. I’m starting to see it slightly more often, though still not as much as Broccoli Baby! 😁

It’s hard to say, but it’s possible that Broccoli’s kittens are actually the oldest ones. I seem to recall seeing her showing up at the kibble house looking not-pregnant, before I discovered Junk Pile’s kittens in the cat’s house. The difference in ages would be less than a week, I think.

My morning started out pretty sh***y. Literally. While sitting on my bedside, I spotted something that looked wrong in an empty shelf. I have a wall that’s almost completely covered with salvaged shelfing. Parts of it has blocked by my craft table, so they shelves there are empty. The cats like to use them to sleep in, but this one shelf at floor level, we’ve had problems with Nosencrantz using it to poop in, instead of the litter box. It’s hard to see under there. When I discovered this had happened, one of my daughters had to crawl under the table to clean it up for me – I physically cannot get at it.

Well, it had happened again.

That shelf is now cleaned up and blocked off with a box. The cats have lost one of their napping places.

While my daughter worked on that, I went to head outside to do my morning rounds.

I found this.

The sun room was completely torn apart. I took this picture after picking up the kibble bin, which had been pulled right out of its shelf. Thankfully, the lid mostly stayed on and very little had spilled out. Stuff had been knocked off the shelf above the kibble bin, and it looks like something tried to get in behind the rest, as it was knocked askew. I was using kibble bags to hold garbage; one paper bag with burnable garbed in it, one plastic bag with non-burnables for the dump. Both were torn up. Buckets knocked over, and the litter box completely covered in stuff. It’s actually in the photo, on the left, but you can’t see it. Even the water bowl somehow got messed up, my mini-chainsaw, its case and charger, knocked off the archery target it was resting on, etc.

What a disaster.

With kittens running through it.

They were very excited by my cleaning up the mess!

The sun room still needs a thorough cleaning, but that will require taking most of the things in it out completely, so we can wash the concrete floor, but the weather has not been good for that.

My guess is, skunks. Either that or racoons. The down side of having the doors propped open for the kittens. Other critters can get it, too! I try to tie off the doors so that when a kitten squeezed in through one door, the line pulls the other door more closed. Then, when a kitten pushed through the second door, the door behind them gets pulled closed.

The problem is, even larger critters can often squeeze through some very small spaces. And some of the skunks are already pretty small, so it won’t take that much squeezing. The only reason I think racoons are a possibility is because of the kibble bin being knocked down, and signs that critters tried to get behind things on the shelf above. Skunks aren’t good climbers, but I think a racoon would have done more damage. Hard to know for sure. They left nothing behind for us to find and identify either way.

The fuzzy little grey tabby was okay with my working around it. Not only did it not run away, but it let me pick it up and cuddle it – and even started to purr!

Socialization progress increased!

Once I finished with the sun room, I could finally get out and do my morning rounds, before having to head out to my mother’s.

Which is when I found this.

My guess is, kittens jumped on top of one of them. With the other, they got under at one end, then perhaps panicked, and ran through the end where the mesh is rolled around a board to hold it down.

Which means we’re going to have to peg down the edges. Which makes it such a pain to get at the space to weed or harvest. Better than having the seedlings eaten by grasshoppers when they germinate. Now if I can just keep the kittens from crushing them, too!

I found that as I was finished my rounds and was almost ready to head inside, when I found this.

The kittens discovered the toy I left for Potato Beetle while he was isolated in here.

This group of kittens has pretty much moved into the sun room; the four little ones from one litter, and the two out of four older ones, that have been hanging out together for quite some time, now.

We’ve had some pretty heavy rain, off and on, for the past couple of days. There was more last night. As I was unlocking the gate to go to my mother’s, I saw evidence of just how much there had to have been, at some point.

When I mowed the sides of the driveway, grass clippings were blown over and mostly covering the gravel. Here, you can see that there was actually enough “wave” action to create ripples of dried grass clippings, all the way from under the gate (which the water tends to pool), to where the culvert runs under. The driveway starts to incline after that line.

What a way to start the day.

Beyond that, the phone appointment for my mother ended up being late. My mom and I have the same doctor, and I’ve had phone appointments with him where he called as much as an hour early, so I made sure to be there well before then. It ended up being late enough that I called the clinic to see if there was a problem. I was told he was running later and it might be a while.

He called not long after. After some confusion, it turned out he had no idea why we had this appointment. He had already called my mother to talk to her about the sleep study results.

He called her on the very day I’d made this appointment for her. The clinic had called her, but she wanted me to be there, so I called them back. He must have called later that afternoon.

My mother didn’t tell me about it, and had forgotten about it until he brought it up. Of course, I was confused. Though my mother did finally remember he had called, she couldn’t remember what he’d told her. So he explained it all to me again.

Yikes!

So it turns out my mother does have a form of sleep apnea – one very different from my husband’s severe obstructive sleep apnea. She’s been referred to the sleep clinic. In 6 – 8 weeks, she’ll have an appointment with a specialist, and will do and overnight sleep study at the clinic, and they will start talking treatments with her.

If my mother ends up having to use a CPAP or BiPAP, I’m not sure she’ll be able to handle it. Not so much being able to use the machine, but being willing to put up with wearing hoses on her face, and nozzles up her nose, night after night.

We will deal with that when the time comes.

The main thing is, the referral is in, and the sleep clinic will take things over about it from here on.

That done, I was able to help her with a few errands before heading home. We’re still getting rain here and there, so I will have to catch up on things tomorrow. The next couple of days should be good weather for working outside.

The Re-Farmer

“New” baby

The grey and white I spotted before has shown up again! It ran away as soon as it saw me, but I was able to get some shots through the storm door window, just a little while ago.

It does have tabby stripes in the grey, though they are much more muted than some of the others.

I wonder which cat is the mama? So far, I’ve only seen it on its own.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest

The pole beans are starting to really kick in!

We’re even still getting bush beans and peas!

I’ve been training the cucumber up the trellis netting, but somehow missed one big cucumber that was lying right on the ground. I’m glad I spotted it this morning. Not much longer before it would have started to be over mature. Which would be okay if I were wanting to save seeds, but I won’t be for these.

With last night’s rain and an incredibly humid morning, things were still soaking wet outside, and my glasses were fogging up! The squash are loving it, though, and I’m seeing increased growth. Even the one Zucca melon that’s trying to survive had a noticeably growth spurt.

The sweet corn and the popcorn are both sending up tassels! The popcorn is still really small, but has had a growth spurt, too. They only reach about 2 ft high to begin with, so there is hope for a crop, yet!

There are squash blooming all over. Whenever possible, I am hand pollinating. There has not been a lot of opportunity to do that. Still, if we have a long, mild fall like last year, it will help ensure we have fruiting plants that can take advantage of it. We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

Today’s adorableness, and a chipper video

Can he get any cuter?

Too funny!

There is also, most definitely, a second grey and white tabby. I spotted it running around in the sun room. Unlike this guy, who will now come up to me for attention, this one ran away. It seems to be a bit bigger, has more white, and the tabby colours are more defined and grey, without any of the brownish fur this one has on his face.

I had to make a run into town this morning to pick up more dry cat food. If I’d had more to pick up, I would have gone to the city for the much better prices, but it wasn’t worth the cost of gas. As it was, when I got to the grocery store, there was only one large bag – 8.5kg – left on the shelf. The guy stocking the shelf nearby saw me looking and told me they simply have not been getting dry cat food. They had been getting them weekly (finally, after more than a year of shortages), but now, nothing. He added that he didn’t know if the other grocery store had any. I’m glad he did, because I forgot that store existed. Where we usually go is on the edge of town, while the other is in the middle of “downtown”. I bought their last big bag of cat food, then went to the other store and was able to get another 7kg bag. We should be good for the rest of the month, I hope!

Yesterday, I tried making a video with the before and after pictures of the day’s wood chipping, using my new Movavi software. There was a new update when I opened it up, which I downloaded, so it was a while before I could start. I was able to record voice over within the software, though the only microphone I have is on my headset, so the sound quality was not the best, but it’s handy not having to open other software to do it.

Then I tried to save the finished video in a format that I could upload, and kept getting an error message.

The new update has a serious bug!

So I tried again, using the default photo/video viewer that came with my computer. It’s little more than a slide show, quickly put together, but this way it doesn’t take up more space in my WordPress media.

They got the job done just in time! Not long after, a thunderstorm rolled in and actually hit us (unlike all the other storms and rain that passed us by). Heavy rain continued through the night. The garden is just loving it!

We’re bright and sunny and hot right now, so I’ll be waiting for things to cool down before I start mulching the highbush cranberry and silver buffalo berry. It’ll be good to do that after such a heavy rainfall.

The Re-Farmer

Socialized

I’d say we’ve got this kitten good and socialized!

I spent some time in the sun room yesterday evening, and this little guy was ALL OVER me! He just could not get enough attention.

Then, apparently he discovered that the inside of my ears are tasty. Even my yelping wasn’t enough for him to stop! But I got all sorts of kisses, too, so he is forgiven.

The black and white kitten with the black splotch by its nose was also loving attention, but didn’t hang around enough for me to get a picture.

I did get the other black and white, though.

I’ve managed to pick this one up once or twice, but most of the time, it just runs away. While I was sitting and not moving much, though, it was willing to also sit and just watch.

The brown tabby also doesn’t let us near it, but was accepting enough to curl up nearby, and even snooze for a bit.

I just love seeing all the babies!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: fall planting, garden progress, and exciting news!

I’m just going to start with the exciting news.

The tree guys came today! They’ve been here all morning, and have just headed into town for a lunch break. They have finished the big pile in the outer yard. When they come back, they’ll do the small pile by the garage, then work on the piles in the maple grove.

Now, when the owner of the company came here for an estimate, we talked about getting as much done as possible for 3 hours, because that’s what my budget is.

When the guys came this morning and I was walking around with one of them, showing him where the piles were, and where they could dump the chips, he told me I’ve got them all day. He knew I had cash for them, and whatever else it cost, we can pay them as we are able.

!!!!

Which is good, because that big pile took about 4 hours to do.

Meanwhile…

Check out the sunflowers we have opening now! We did not plant any sunflowers this year, though it had been in the plans. There are a few things we didn’t plant, with how crazy this spring was. And yet, we have several sunflowers growing, all planted by the birds. And it looks like the extra bit of fertilizer they were in helped, too! 😉

The Little Finger eggplant in the black grow bag are blooming! It would be awesome if we actually got some eggplant before the first frost hits.

I finally got to working on the cleaning up the lettuce bed.

I kept at least two of each variety of lettuce to go to seed.

After working on pulling out as many weed roots as I could, I decided it was not worth trying to plant anything at the end closest to the house. There’s just too many things spreading into there.

On the left is the Bloomsdale spinach I already planted.

Between the kittens and the grasshoppers, I decided these needed to be covered. I had some longer plastic coated metal stakes I got last year. The metal was hollow tubes, and they bent and broke easily in our soil. I ended up breaking some of them in half, to have me a bunch of shorter rods. I finally got to use the PEX tubing I picked up for this purpose. They fit over the metal stakes perfectly.

The small space near the Bloomsdale spinach got more Bloomsdale in it, while the longer space got Hybrid Olympia spinach planted in it.

After lashing the last of my 6′ bamboo stakes to the middle of the hoops, I grabbed the shorter pieces of mosquito netting from the main garden and set them up here. They are not pegged to the ground. I’m hoping to not need to do that. As they are now, it would be a simple matter to slide the slips up the hoops to be able to reach under. The excess on the ends are rolled around boards, which can also be easily moved, if needed.

The netting does have holes in it, so insects could still get in, but not as much.

When cleaning up this bed in the fall, I’m hoping to start adding walls to build it up higher. I’m just not sure what I’ll have available to use for that. I don’t expect to make high raised beds here, but I do want to have something in between a high and a low raised bed. Partly to make it easier on the back, but also partly to get it up and away from all those invasive plants! That and working around the lilac is a pain. This bed will be a maximum of 2′ wide, so we’ll be able to each all of it from just one side.

Oh! I see the tree guys coming back on the garage cam. Yay!

I am just so excited by the fabulous job they are doing!

The Re-Farmer

Possible trigger?

While waiting for the RCMP to call me back, a thought occurred to me, so I went to the post office.

Sure enough, I found what may have been the trigger for this.

In the mail was a letter from the Court of Queen’s Bench. The judge’s decision on our vandal’s civil suit against me.

It was dismissed.

He now owes me $500 in court costs.

I expect him to appeal. He would have picked up his mail as usual on Friday, and had the decision festering in his head for a couple of days, so it could easily have triggered him to get drunk and do something stupid last night.

I don’t know that I’m happy with why the judge dismissed the case, though I suppose she had to respond to his claim, not my defense. She basically said that he did not provide a comprehensive list of items (noting that he’d said there was “too much to list”) with a market value, such as an appraisal, included. Basically, if he can come up with a list and attach dollar amounts to things, he can include that in his appeal.

In the papers he presented to the judge, he had photos of vehicles he claimed were his (one of which is already on his property, and at least one other was given to my dad by my brother, and is not his), and they were older photos. Photos taken while many of the vehicles still look like they’re worth something. They don’t look anywhere near that good anymore. Even as scrap value, the longer they sit there, rusting away, the less they’re worth. In his picture of the post pounder, you can’t even tell what it is, because it was covered in junk. I’m the one who cleaned it up and have been trying to protect it from the elements. That was built by my late brother, so there is no market equivalent.

Still, I can see our vandal sitting there, stewing, coming up with a list of everything he thinks is his, or believes is here, and how much he can say I need to pay him for it. He could have found a way to prove things were his, and I would have let him take it. Heck, I would have been good with claims being corroborated by my brother or my mother, but in trying to do so, I found that he was claiming some things are his that they say are not. But he doesn’t actually want the stuff. He wants the money – and to destroy me.

Ah, well. I guess I “won”, but I don’t think it’s over.

Whatever he ends up doing, I can easily see the decision being enough to put him out of control, getting drunk, and deciding to do something about the one camera he could actually reach. I honestly can’t think of any logical alternative to how the camera disappeared, and I’ve been trying. I would really prefer to believe that some animal dragged it off, but… no. That just doesn’t fit.

No matter.

I called the RCMP again. It’s a good thing I did, because the clerk isn’t in today, so no one saw my message. I’ve filed a report, but there’s really nothing they can do about it. There are no witnesses, and the only evidence would be in the missing camera’s memory card. It’s not like I have a camera on my camera!

But it’s reported and on file, so there is at least that. Who knows. When the clerk comes in and gets my message, I might still get a call from a constable later.

On top of that, I got a call from the tree guy. The chippers will not be coming today, as we are expected to get rain this afternoon. Possibly heavy thunderstorms. Which I don’t expect to actually hit us, but we’ll see. He will call me again, the next time they have a few hours available.

On the plus side, I got a wonderful surprise in the mail. A big, heavy box was waiting for me.

M, you are such a sweetie! Thank you so much. The cats will love the treats and, as soon as I’m done this, I’m going to start going through those old books! 🥰 You are awesome!

I have the best friends. 💟💟

The Re-Farmer

Morning harvest, and … that really sucks

When to do my morning rounds these days is a bit of a conundrum. I can wait until later in the morning, but find it gets too hot, too quickly. Plus, the kitties will be hungry. Or I can do it earlier when it’s cooler, but get eaten alive by mosquitoes. I went earlier this morning and not only were the mosquitoes out in full force (and I didn’t want to use bug spray when I wasn’t going to be outside for very long), but it was so humid out, my glasses fogged up while I was picking beans, and the dew got me completely soaked from the knees down!

Still, there were some decent pickings this morning. The purple beans are starting to really kick in.

Normally, I would have set it up all pretty before taking a picture, but things did not go as expected this morning.

I was planning to make jokes about feeling “chipper”, because I got a call from the tree guys yesterday. They will be coming in today to chip our branch piles. The problem is, I’m not feeling the least bit chipper this morning, and this is why.

There is supposed to be a trail cam there. The post the camera screws onto is snapped right off.

In the off chance something bigger, like a racoon, broke it, I checked the ground around the post, both on our side of the fence line, and the road side. Nothing. It’s gone.

Obviously it was there yesterday morning, since I switched out the memory cards. I was watering the garden quite late, but I didn’t check it, so I can’t say if it disappeared during the day, or at night.

Now, the most obvious assumption is that our vandal took it. While in court with his civil suit against me, one of the things he kept bringing up is that I have cameras all over the place because I’m trying to “catch” him and put him in jail. That camera is there because the sign with my late father’s name on it that was mounted on the post had disappeared. A reflector that had been mounted to overlap the top of the sign was broken in half. Half is still on the post, and I found the other half on the ground. So we made the new sign and put the camera on it as a deterrent. In fact, one of the pictures our vandal submitted to court as some sort of evidence against me (???) was of the sign, with the camera beside it circled.

I would have preferred to have the camera further back from the fence, but there was no way to mount it and still record the area in front of the sign. So it’s very been very visible from the road, and can be easily reached.

The irony of it is, this camera has been having problems. Unlike the other trail cam, where you can see that the batteries are slowly dying in the night shots (infrared flash is not as bright, flickering lines across the frame, etc), when the batteries go on this one, it tends to be very sudden. I’ll open it up and the LCD screen won’t turn on, and the camera will be dead. Usually, I just change the batteries, reset the time and date, and it’s done, but the LCD screen never came back. The camera was still recording, but the time and date was on default, and reset to default every time I changed the memory card. I was planning to replace it, but all our extra funds are going towards paying the tree guys to chip the branch piles today. Still, I was expecting to replace the camera fairly soon.

Now, there’s no camera to replace.

*sigh*

So once I was back inside from doing my rounds, the girls took care of the vegetables for me so I could look up and call the non-emergency RCMP number for our area.

There was no answer, so I left a message.

I could report the theft online, but after going over their options, I decided against it. Because of our vandal and the restraining order we have against him, this theft falls into several categories – and we can’t even say that he is the one who took it. Yes, he’s the most likely person to have done that, but would he really be THAT stupid? Yet, there is no one else who would do something like that. Even if one of his buddies decided to do it, they would know he would be the one immediately suspected and that it would get him in even worse trouble.

*sigh*

What a start to the day!

The Re-Farmer

August garden tour (video)

Oh, my goodness. This took way more time and effort to make than usual! Starting with going back later in the day to record new video because I made too many goofs, the first time around. I mean, how did I accidentally say “corn” when I meant to say “peas”? Repeatedly!! 😂

It also took all day to upload the file. Yes, it’s more than half an hour long, but it still shouldn’t have taken more than 8 hours to upload.

But, here it is. A tour of our garden, including fruit trees this time. It’s been a very rough year for the garden, with some complete losses, but we do still have something to show for it, at least!

I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to let me know what you think!