Well, we had our visit from my mother and sister. I wasn’t sure what time they’d be coming out, so I took advantage of things; after unlocking the gate, I got the lawn mower out and started with the sides of the driveway outside the gate, then began working my way back. Little by little, I’m trying to reclaim areas we normally would have mowed, but got too overgrown with all the flooding and rain we got. Some areas will simply not be done this year, but there are areas in the outer yard I really need to clear. Using the scythe is no longer an option for most of it; the hay has simply been too flattened by the wind, and the blade would be gliding over more than cutting.
I had gotten most of the driveway done by the time they arrived. It turned out they stopped somewhere else along the way. My sister gave me two big bags of cucumbers. I didn’t get a close look at them until after they were gone, and they are HUGE! Too big to pickle without slicing them, first, but definitely enough to pickle, if we want to.
They immediately started with a tour of the yard and gardens, with my mother going straight for the Red Kuri squash hanging on the chain link fence. They are pumpkin orange right now, and she thought they were ripe already. I told her they will be a much deeper, almost red colour when they are ready, which is when she asked what I could already see she was shooting for – she wanted one for herself! I’m actually quite surprised, as she does not like to try new things (in fact, ever since we’ve been able to garden after moving here, she has been chastising me for growing things that she never grew!). These, however, are very cute, so maybe that made the difference. 😉 She even asked how to prepare them. That was an encouraging start to the visit!
As we made our way around to the beds with the late garlic, yellow pear tomatoes and kulli corn, she went straight for the garlic bed, then asked for a couple! They are smaller than they should be, but very close to being ready to harvest, so I dug up the ones that looked the most mature. When I went to wash them off with the hose (no need to cure, since she’ll be using them right away), I decided to pop inside and grabbed a small plastic bin, trimmed the garlic and added a couple of the tomatoes we have ripening in the old kitchen, and some of the beans I’d harvested this morning.
By the time I came out again, they had moved to the cherry tree. There are still cherries on it, and my mother was very insistent that I must harvest every single one of them. I’d already told her we’d picked lots, and added that we were okay with leaving some for the birds, but she started picking what she could reach herself. She just couldn’t bear to leave them. My sister and I ended up helping her until she had at least some to take home, though I doubt she’ll be able to eat any of them, even though I tossed away the worst looking ones.
As we got closer to the main garden area, she saw the one crab apple tree that is doing well, with apples that are looking quite red now. We are planning to wait maybe another week before starting to harvest them. She said she was going to go over to take a look, so I went and gathered some onions of different types for her and cleaned them up for the bin I prepared for her to take home. By the time I was done, she was at the tree – and loading up the basket in her walker! When I caught up to her, she was going on about how I needed to pick all the apples. LOL
My sister commented on how few crab apple trees are left. There are three new dead ones that need to be cleaned up, two of which don’t look dead because the suckers growing from the bases are so big. Then there’s the big one I want to take down, because it’s sickly, and I want to protect that one good tree that’s left. By the time it’s all cleaned up, we might be down to just two crab apple trees. 😞
While picking apples, my mother got curious about what she was seeing at the trellises, so we wandered over. Taking the smoothest route for her walker meant going past the silver buffalo berry, now mulched with wood chips. It took both of us to explain to her that the tiny saplings I was trying to show her were going to be berry bushes, and that we planted them just this past spring. She seemed to think they had come through the wood chips on their own, for some reason!
It was nice to go through the trellises with my sister there to comment on how she always used trellises, especially for peas, and how it’s so much easier to harvest with them. Using trellises was one of the things my mother kept giving me a hard time about, because she never used them – but she never gave my sister a hard time in her decades of gardening on her farm!
Going through the other beds, we got to talking about just how much water we had all over, and the effect it had on our gardening. In all the years my mother gardened in this area, neither of them remember there ever being standing water in it. Considering my mother gardened in this spot since before I was born, that’s more than 50 years they can go back over in their memories!
As we continued on, they both commented on our reddening tomatoes – my sister’s tomatoes are still green. Even though I’d already added ripe tomatoes for my mother to take home, she wanted a couple more of the “long ones” – the Cup of Moldova – to take home, so I grabbed some of the ripest ones. It was too much for her to get to with her walker, but my mother was quite impressed by how our one giant pumpkin that’s turning colour is looking. The second one hasn’t started changing colour, yet, so it took her a while before she could see that one, too.
Then we made our way around to the old kitchen garden, where they were curious about the beds covered with netting – and why. With kittens running around all over, they didn’t have much trouble understanding the need. 😁 My sister was happy to see that I’d transplanted mint into some of the retaining wall blocks, when I mentioned I am trying to get rid of the rest that’s taking over the garden. It turns out the original mint plants these are from are from my late grandmother!
They both got to see other flooding damage in the drowned out lilacs by the storage house, but were happy that the grapes have survived. When we made full circle and my mother sat for a rest, we got to see more kittens running around – and my mother actually started calling to them! Not that these ones are trained to come when called, like our barn cats where trained to come for some fresh milk. I was, however, able to pick up some socialized kittens, and my mother asked to hold them! It seems she is okay with cats when they are outside. Just not inside! 😄
While my mother rested, my sister went into the old workshop that is now being used as a warehouse, jammed full of my parents’ stuff. She wanted to take their old photographs, so they don’t end up damaged in there. There was something in there my mother wanted me to bring out for her to take home, so I did that and left my sister to it, while I visited with my mother a bit more.
Then it started to rain.
I asked if she wanted to come in, but she said it wasn’t too bad yet. It was enough that I went and put away the lawn mower, though! When it started to rain harder, I asked if she wanted to at least go into the sun room, but that was when my sister came back, carrying a box covered with a vinyl table cloth she’d found in one of the other boxes, to protect the photographs inside, asking my mother if she was ready to leave.
So they left soon after. All in all, the visit turned out okay. There were a few times my mother tried to make digs at me, one of which went right over my head. I knew she was making a dig, but there was clearly something behind it that she thought I knew. I have no idea what it could have been. So it was a failed dig! 😄
It continued to rain for some time after they left but, once there was a break, I headed outside again to make some adjustments to the new trail cam. After checking the files this morning, I saw the position had to be changed. I want the camera to cover the space in front of the sign, without having the frame filled with the back of the sign itself. With the wide angle lens, there’s a sweet spot I need to find, between the sign on one side, and the post it’s mounted on, on the other. Because the dimensions of this camera are larger than the previous one, that required moving the mounting plate completely.
Here is was before, with the mounting plate attached in the exact same spot as the old plate, which was also damaged from when the previous camera was ripped off.
Whoever took it could have just unscrewed the camera from the mount, without damaging anything at all.
Before changing the location of the mounting plate, though, I took the camera inside (away from the mosquitoes!) and adjusted the time, so it’s no longer 12 hours behind. I hope. I thought I got it right the first time, so we’ll see.
Here is the new set up. It’s just far enough away from the post that it’s no longer in the way of positioning the camera where I want it to be, but also close enough to add extra support to the camera. As tightly as I’ve made the various adjusters, the camera is top heavy, and it wouldn’t take much for it to just flop over.
The mount is now a bit lower. Hopefully, that will work out. The main potential issue I foresee is that it might get triggered by blowing grasses now. I do have the sensor on medium, rather than high, sensitivity, though – a setting that wasn’t available on any of our previous cameras.
There is one other thing this camera does that none of the others do. They all include the date and time in the images. The newer camera also included moon phases and temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit. This one all that, plus a battery life indicator. Right now, it reads the batteries at 100%. That will be so handy! The other cameras had bar indicators on their screens, not in the images. With the older cameras, the batteries could last a long time on one bar. With the one that disappeared, it didn’t use up the batteries as quickly, but when the batteries did finally get low, it would proomptly just die – and when that happened, not only did the batteries need to be changed, but I’d end up having to reset the date and time, too.
It should be interesting to see how much the solar will prolong battery life.
Now that the adjustments have been made, I’ll see what needs to be tweaked after switching out the memory cards, tomorrow. Theoretically, I could use BlueTooth to connect with it and see the files, but I really don’t want to be standing outside with the mosquitoes while fussing with my phone and looking through files! 😂
Oh, there is one thing different about the files I discovered. I have it set to take stills, then video. With the previous camera, after uploading the files, I could just go through all of them in chronological order. This one stores the video and photo files in separate folders. I can see the advantage of that, but I’m not quite sure if I like it or not.
I’ll get use to it, I’m sure.
So far, though, the camera seems to be working out fine. If it continues to work out well, it would be worthwhile to get a second one for the driveway, since the camera there is starting to have issues, and I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to last.
That’s a lot of time and money going towards having multiple cameras, all because of our friendly neighbourhood vandal.
Ah, well. At least we sometimes get cool files of deer and awesome farming equipment going by, too! 😁