Our 2022 garden morning harvest and changes of plans

This morning, the girls were able to haul wood chips over to the Korean Pine and give them a good mulching. They also got another coat of paint on platform bed frame that will become a litter box platform in the basement.

They fed the kittens early, to keep them out of the way, emptying the kibble bin in the process. Turns out I should have bought two bags last time, not one.

While they were doing that, I did my morning rounds. Checking on the garden beds, I found myself able to hand pollinate more Ozark Nest Egg gourds, Styrian pumpkins and summer squash, as well as get a harvest.

There was a surprising number of cucumbers to pick.

I don’t know what to do with them anymore! We planted adequate amounts of cucumbers for our own use, but with my sister being so very generous in giving us some of her own cucumbers we have more than we can use! We like cucumbers and pickles, but not that much of it! 😉

With the ground cherries, I’m just picking what is ripe enough to fall to the ground; there are many more on the plants that are still very green, and getting very big!

The beans might be winding down, but the yellow pear tomatoes are winding up. I’m hand pollinating the summer squash as much as I can, so hopefully we will be picking more those, soon, but sometimes, there’s just nothing to pollinate.

Whenever I pause to take a picture of our morning harvest, I try to get two set ups; one spread out like in the above photo, and one with everything back in the colander.

While I was working on that, I had two kittens that were very, very interested in what I was doing!

This one was ready to climb right into the colander! The little black and white one, whose paws you can see at the top, kept trying to play with the pea pods while I was trying to take the first pictures.

Silly babies!

My plan for after I finished my morning rounds was to head into town and pick up another bag of kibble, to last us until my husband’s CPP Disability came in on Monday. We got a nice surprise, though. It came in today. So I decided to do a Walmart trip at the nearer, smaller city, instead. Costco can wait until the main pay comes in on the last business day of the month.

After seeing the Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction of a “glacial” January and February this winter, the girls have put together a stock-up list of non-perishables, on the assumption that we will have at least 2 months where we won’t be able to go anywhere. Every shopping trip, we already try to get a little extra for the pantry, but we’ll be working to step it up a bit for non-perishables, whether it’s case lots of canned soups, or extra Costco sized packages of toilet paper. We’re trying to figure out how to re-arrange the old kitchen to store things like paper products, since that room freezes in the winter.

With that in mind, while at the Walmart today, I did pick up some extra flour and a couple of cases of ramen noodles. I also picked up a small plastic storage shelf that just barely fits in the old kitchen space where the rocker is. I’ll need to find another place for the rocker, but the little shelf has already freed up space that had been taken up by cases of canning jars and paper products. We moved a plastic couch that had been in the sun room, into the old kitchen, where I pictured being able to sit in the cooler old kitchen on hot summer days, only for that to never happen. We’ve been using the room for too many other things. There are a couple of old wooden shelves that aren’t being well used, but I don’t want to move them, as they are strong enough to stand on, giving us access to the breaker panel. I guess we could move the couch to the storage house, but that’s already so full of stuff, there really isn’t anyplace to put it there, either.

We’ll have to figure something out, since we want to convert the old kitchen to a sort of walk-in pantry.

The thing that will take up the most space is going to be the bags of kibble. Today, I was able to find a couple of 10kg bags, along with the usual 7kg bags we get at Walmart. When we make our Costco run, we’ll get their 9kb bags, too. We have a hard time stocking up enough kibble to last one month, never mind stocking up enough for 2 months!

Ideally, we’ll be able to adopt out more kitties before winter, though, and won’t need to buy so much cat food!

While I was out, I got a message from my daughter, updating me on what they were able to finish before heading to bed for the day. I’ll have to make my way into the basement to see how much further my younger daughter got down there. During the night, I could hear large things being moved around. Meanwhile, her sister got the remaining fresh tomatoes sliced up, and they are dehydrating in the oven right now. Once those are dry, I’m debating what to do next with them. We can just store them dry, put them in jars with olive oil, or powder them. Eventually, we’ll probably have all three.

Since we will likely be dehydrating more often, I decided to look at dehydrators. There were none at the Walmart, so I went across to a Canadian Tire. After much searching, I did find one in the hunting section. A small one, way out of budget. Ouch!

I didn’t get a dehydrator, but while wandering the store looking for one, I ended up getting a few other handy things, including an extra jar holder for canning, like we already have. When it comes time to make and can tomato paste, they will be in 125ml jars. The jar holder is designed to stack smaller jars on top of each other, which will allow me to can up to 12 small jars at once, which will save us plenty of time.

While on the way home, I stopped at a farmer’s market I’d never been to before. There were some of the same vendors I have seen at others, including one that sells fresh produce. They did not have a lot to offer; looks like they are having a difficult year in the garden, too. I did find the pie lady, though, and picked up an apple bourbon pie. I don’t know how large this particular market normally is, but it seemed there weren’t very many vendors. There are a couple of others I’ve been to last year and can compare, and those have most definitely seen a major drop in the number of vendors. The types of things being sold has changed, too. Not a lot of fresh produce, canning or meat products, but more direct sales booths, like Norwex or Pampered Chef, and hand crafts. I’m glad I stopped by, though. Along with a lovely pie, I found some excellent handspun yarn. I think I’ll give it to my daughter, though. I haven’t been able to crochet in quite some time. My fingers have become far too stiff, and the high humidity of late has been brutal on my arthritis. I do miss it, though. 😞

Ah, well.

Now that I’ve done the Walmart shopping, I find myself seriously considering making a trip into town. They still have that case lot sale happening, and a few cases of canned soup for the pantry would not go amiss.

The question is, do I have the energy for another drive into town today?

As I’m writing this, I’d have to say no. I do not.

We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Night time visitors

We had kittens in the sun room last night, so we left the doors tied partially open. When I had a chance, I joined them for a while, sitting on the swing bench with one kitten violently and playfully attacking one arm, while another was trying to figure out if my fingers were edible on the other. Out the window, I could see other kittens playing in the old kitchen garden.

It’s a very good thing the fall spinach beds are covered with the hoops and mesh!

Then I spotted a large shadow moving at the far end. A raccoon?

I headed out to check. The noise of me moving about sent the raccoon climbing up one of the ornamental apple trees. It was completely dark, but I tried to get some photot, anyhow.

Just look at that big, furry butt!

What I didn’t notice until I was cropping the photo to post here, was the second raccoon in the tree!

Then, while checking the trail cam files, I saw we had a visitor of a very different sort passing by.

This coyote got picked up by the other camera, too. It was just sauntering down the road!

It was a spur of the moment decision to move the original old camera onto this tree and keep it going. It went haywire quite some time ago. I am amazed that it’s working at all. I had even tried setting it to stills instead of video, and it still didn’t work. One of the things it would do was get triggered to start recording, but not shut off. I’d come out the next morning to find the batteries dead, and nothing on the memory card. Now, I still sometimes get an error message when switching the cards – I just have to take it out and put it back in until it starts working. I think that has more to do with the connections on the cards wearing out than the camera, though.

I’m glad it’s working again. Not just so that I can have the old camera on the new camera, in case this one gets stolen, too. It picks up interesting things, like this coyote – and we have a few images of a mouse running across the top barbed wire! 😁

Very handy, and fun, too.

The Re-Farmer

We have pickles!

Today, I made my first pickled cucumbers, using a mix of our own cucumbers, and those given to us by my sister.

She gave us so many, they over filled my mother’s massive bowl that was left here. When I was a kid, I remember she used this bowl for making pickles, too!

My canning cookbook is still missing, so I found a recipe online – it was surprisingly hard to find a simple, basic recipe that didn’t require ingredients that we didn’t have, either because we don’t like them, or because they aren’t available locally. Or they required ridiculously long preparation – one recipe I found took nine days of preparation before the final canning and, after reading the instructions, I can’t for the life of me figure out how the cucumbers weren’t complete mush long before then! Or, they were for fermented pickles, and I wanted to water bath can these.

I just wanted to make basic pickles.

Who’d have though that would be so difficult? 😄

But I found one, and got to work. I had only 1 case of quart size jars, and I am very glad they were wide mouth jars! They are so much easier to fill than the regular mouth jars.

I filled the dozen quarts, and there was still lots of cucumbers left over!

There we have it! My first canning of cucumbers into pickles. I even got a 100% ping rate – all the lids sealed properly! Once they’re fully cool, I’ll remove the rings, put the jars in the case they came in, and we’ll need to find somewhere to store them. There’s the root cellar, of course, but that’s quite the oubliette right now. Things that go in there, get forgotten! At least it won’t matter as much with canned goods, and if we are able to harvest enough produce from the garden to store in there, that will help us remember we actually have food in there, and not just the Christmas trees and decorations. 😁 I’ll have to get the girls to take things down there, though. With my knees, trying to navigate the stairs while carrying glass jars is just not a good idea. 😉

I’m glad it’s done, though I left quite a bit for the girls to clean up tonight. At times like this, they get the raw end of the deal! They are sweethearts about it, though. 💕

The Re-Farmer

Morning progress, and a critter visitor

So, yesterday ended up being quite a bit of a write off for me.

After I finished posting yesterday, I was going to sterilize some jars and make pickles. I was falling asleep at the computer, however, so I decided to take a short nap, first.

I woke up more than 3 hours later, wasting most of my day.

I did get some work done outside, while it was still light enough. This included raking up the nicely dried grass clippings from a few days ago. I was able to finish mulching the popcorn, and start mulching on either side of the sweet corn. The mulch is as much for next year, as it is to help the plants growing now. I was able to give the berry bushes a thorough watering, as well as the nearby trellises, but not much more than that. By the time I went inside, not only was I still frustrated by how far behind I am getting, but was getting a headache and actually felt ready to go back to bed!

So my daughters, sweethearts that they are, headed out at first light to do a few things before heading to bed for the day. Among other things, the Korean Pine got a deep watering. They also got a first coat of paint on the bed frame that my brother left for us when we moved in here.

It was actually built by one of my nephews. It came in very handy as a platform for hardening off our seedlings. I kept it covered with a tarp, but it’s been outside ever since, and I don’t want it to get water damaged. After it’s been painted, it’s going to go back into the basement, where it will be used as a platform for litter boxes, so if the basement ever does get wet like it did this spring again, the cats won’t be stuck using litter boxes in the middle of a damp concrete floor! We’ll put something under the legs to raise it off the floor slightly, to protect the legs from damp beyond what the paint will do.

One of my daughters sent me a picture of something they found when they first came out of the sun room.

Our province has 4 types of snakes.

This isn’t any of them.

Normally, the only snakes we ever see are garter snakes. There are two types that live here, but we tend to see only the red sided garter snake. The other two types look completely different, and I’ve never seen them before. As a child, however, I have seen a brown snake like this, a couple of times. Once, it got into the house and my poor mother flipped right out. They were both very tiny and slender. This one looks absolutely beefy in comparison. It kind of looks like the Red Bellied snake native to another province, except there’s no sign of a red belly that can be seen in the picture.

We like snakes. They eat slugs and other garden pests, so we try to protect them as much as possible. I’ve seen all of 2 garter snakes this year, and they were crossing the road both times. I suspect our horrible did a number of their population. In September, they start going back to their dens for the winter, so I hope we will see more of them.

I harvested from the garden yesterday, but today I grabbed some of the ripest tomatoes.

The under ripe ones we picked before are fully ripe now. There isn’t enough of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes to make yet, though. They will be cooked down to about a quarter of their volume, and with what we have so far, I’d end up with maybe 2 or 3 of my little half-pint jars full.

So I went over all the Cup of Moldova tomatoes we have so far, and put the good ones in the freezer. I’ll keep adding more to the bin they’re in until it’s almost full, and then I’ll have enough to work on making tomato paste and canning it.

It seems like we were growing SO many tomatoes this year, and yet I’m realizing that we actually aren’t growing that much at all! At least not for what we want to use them for. Mind you, the chocolate cherry tomatoes aren’t even ready yet, and the yellow pear tomatoes are still just starting to ripen, but when it comes to canning and preserving enough to supply us until the next harvest, we could easily double how many we plant.

Next year, we’ll be shooting for an even bigger garden! 😄 The good thing is, we do have the luxury of space, even if we do have to do massive reclamation to use it.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

A sweet gift

My younger daughter has been slowly working on cleaning up the spring moisture mess in the basement for the last while, but also just being down there to stay in the cool.

Today, I found out she has been having fun with my wood carving tools, which I have not been able to use myself for quite some time. Her first experimentation was to finish off a fork I’d started some time ago, but stopped because the wood really sucked to work with. This is her second project, and her first made from scratch.

She make a shawl pin for me! Something to use to keep my reading jacket closed, instead of the hair pins I’ve been using.

I absolutely adore the teeny little frog she carved into the top!

What a fantastic job she did, and I absolutely love it!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning bebbies

So much cuteness in the the morning!

This little guy just LOVES attention, and wants to play with the Giant Food Givers!

I’m hoping these ones will get used to me if I keep coming over while they eat.

I was actually able to touch the tortie this morning! Granted, it was in the process of leaving when I did, but it did stop for a moment before hissing and continuing on.

Did I mentioned this one loves attention?

He actually trapped me. I bent over to reach something, he went onto my back, then settled. I couldn’t straighten without either dropping him, or ending up with a scratched back. When I tried to reach him, he rolled into my arm and I ended up in an even more difficult position, trying to keep him from falling onto the concrete floor! Thankfully, I’d been able to reach my phone in my pocket and had already sent a message to the family, asking for assistance. 😄 My husband was able to come out and remove the bebby. Who did NOT want to be left behind! I had to dash in and rush – carefully! – to close the door.

Yeah. I’m a suck.


The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden and, photobomb!

Things are getting cooler in the mornings, that’s for sure! At about 7am, we were at 9C/48F – quite a bit less than the low of 16C/ that was forecast!

And that is why I don’t allow myself to hope too much, when I see mild temperatures in the long range forecasts. Even forecasts within a 24hr period can be wildly off.

Still, things are working out okay. Along with the cool mornings, we’ve been having high humidity, resulting in very heavy dew that the plants are quite enjoying. Unfortunately, if it’s too cool, it slows down maturation. Our chocolate cherry tomatoes are only now starting to turn colour. We also still have only one kulli corn showing tassels, with none showing silk.

While looking for beans to pick, I spotted this at the bottom of the one stalk that has tassels. I think it’s neat that corn develops these.

The yellow bush beans are pretty much done, but I’m leaving the plants be, rather than pull them up. They act as a living mulch for the corn, and shade the ground, so they still serve a purpose.

The sweet corn, on the other hand, is suddenly doing very well! There are so many cobs developing. This area is pretty breezy, so there are nor worries about adequate pollination, here!

There was finally a new Lady Godiva baby pumpkin to hand pollinate – the one you can see in the background is still the only pumpkin from the 5 plants. I did see another female flower bud, but it won’t be ready to pollinate for a few days yet – assuming it makes it that long.

While checking the beds, I could see bees busily doing their work in the squash blossoms, but I’ve noticed that while all the male flowers are wide open, the female flowers tend to have there blossoms already closed!

As lovely as it is to see the luffa gourd, it’s not going to make it. Do yo use that sort of star shape on my finger in the background? That’s a cluster of male flowers, nowhere near blooming. Meanwhile, the female flowers that have emerged so far are already losing their blossom ends, so there is no possibility of pollination.

These shelling beans may be tiny and delicate, but they have SO many developing pods!

Still nothing on the red noodle beans.

There are, however, a LOT of dancing gourds! It looks like they’ll be able to reach their full mature size, too. We had lots last year, but they were all much smaller than they should have been.

Once I finished gathering a harvest, I paused to hose it all over, then set up for…

… a photobomb, it turns out!

What a cheeky little bugger.

It looks like the pole beans are winding down now, too. There is still lots on the vines, at various stages of growth, so we’ll still be picking every 2 days, but there was a lot less of them, this morning.

The peas were a surprise, though. I didn’t expect to find very many, especially at the first planting, so I started off just eating them. Then I just kept finding more. Peas should have been done producing, long ago!

I tried thinning by harvesting some carrots, but that just doesn’t work with the Black Nebula carrots. They’re such a long carrot, though, it’s hard to pull them up, so I’m just leaving them for now. Those will need to be harvested with a garden fork.

I hand pollinated some more summer squash, and even had a few to pick. That one yellow zucchini was looking like it was going to ripen unevenly, so I just grabbed it. I also grabbed a few of the smaller onions for today’s cooking.

Once done my rounds, I headed to town to pick up some missing ingredients to do some pickling. We really need to do something with the cucumbers my sister gave us. They are so huge, though! It’s a good thing I did pick up a case of wide-mouthed quart jars a while back. I usually get 500ml or 750ml sized jars. There are cucumbers that would completely fill one of those, all on its own! I plan to pickle the smallest ones, and leave the larger ones for fresh eating.

While in town, I also stopped at the wine making supply shot and picked up more yeast, and a couple of spare bungs for the gallon sized carboys. We’ll be making hard apple cider again, soon, and it’ll be nice if we can get four carboys started this time. We had only two, last time. It turned out so well, I’ll happily double the amount. We should have more than enough apples to do that, plus make apple cider vinegar, too.

But first, the cucumbers need to be taken care of. They’ve been scrubbed, and it’s time to start sterilizing the quart jars! 😊🥒

The Re-Farmer

Kitties of the Morning

So many kitties!

I had quite the crowd this morning! One of the little black and whites apparently wasn’t hungry, so it hung out, out of frame.

Do you see the catten (that’s what I call our “teenagers” – not quite an adult, but too big to call a kitten anymore!) on the right? Over the counterweight? That’s the one that looks like it’s going to be big and bushy, like David. If we can socialize it, we have a forever home waiting already. One of my SIL’s really, really wants a David. 😂 Unfortunately, it’s one of the shier ones!

The catten climbing up into the kibble house is another shy one that we see pretty rarely.

Rosencrantz and her crew had company this morning! The catten that looks quite a bit like Junk Pile – but with a distinctive black lower lip! This one tends to show up alone, and I’ve yet to see it with any of the adults in a familial way. Here, Rosencrantz tolerated it for a very short time.

Also, I managed to get that tortie to look at me while taking the photo. What a cutie!!!

Here we have it. Finally! A photo with all five of Rosencranctz’s kittens in one shot! The spotted one on the far left tends to hang back while the others go for the food, and tends to be the first one to run off when I come around.

So. Many. Bebbies!

The Re-Farmer

Morning bebbies, and catching up

My original plan of the day was to continue mowing the lawn after doing my morning rounds. Unfortunately, I realized that I would need to get new SD cards for the new trail cam, which did not come with its own. Since I switch cards every morning, each camera needs two card, and the old SD cards we’ve been using for the past few years are starting to wear out.

Which meant a trip into town, after feeding the kitties.

So. Many. Kitties!

There are 10 kittens and three adults in this photo – with many kitties that hadn’t come out yet!

Except these ones, that emerged rather quickly, since they have their own kibble bowl.

Gotta love the one that likes to sit completely in the bowl!

The fifth kitten came out of the lilacs after I got this picture, then ran off before I could include it in a shot. It is pretty distinctive, with more black spots on is body than it’s mostly white siblings.

The only place in town that I could think of that would have memory cards was the pharmacy, so I picked up my prescription refill while I was at it. My doctor switched me from pills once a day two injections once a week, which he wants to try for a year.

Thank God for my husband’s insurance! The price went up, and it cost almost $70. Which means that, without insurance, it would cost almost $700. My dosages are still building up to what the doctor wants to be on. At full dose, I am probably looking at about 2 boxes every 3 months, if I remember correctly. As it is, one box now costs more than my husband’s bubble packs for 4 weeks, and he’s got something like 10 different medications spread over 3 times a day in there.



The pharmacy turned out to not have any memory cards in their little electronics sections. The cashier suggested I try a store across the street. They didn’t have any in their electronics section, but when I asked, it turned out they have them behind the counter.

I was about to buy two of them when I realized they were micro SD, not SD cards. I tested a micro SD on the camera, and it doesn’t work.

After telling her what I needed, she wracked her brain then suggested I try a cell phone place a few streets over. So I did, and they did have one type in stock – with far more memory than I needed, and so expensive, I couldn’t get the two I needed with the budget I had.

The guy wracked his brain, then suggested a small computer repair shop. I’d completely forgotten it existed, because is shares retail space with another shop. So I went there.

They did carry memory cards – but were completely out of stock and would not get more for at least a week.


The next option was to go to the small, slightly nearer city. They have a Walmart. I figured I should at least be able to find one there! I made a quick stop at the gas station, then home to leave my meds, then off I went again.

The trip took quite a bit longer than expected, though. This time of year, the provincial and municipal road maintenance crews are out in full force. They’re cutting the overgrown grass and saplings along the shoulders, scraping the shoulders free of weeds, clearing ditched and culverts for the winter, and even painting fresh lines on the highways. This particular highway was being resurfaced – finally! – leaving only half a lane open for traffic. We were all driving half on the road, half on the shoulder, for miles, while traffic in the other direction was having to wait. The road crews wouldn’t even let people make turns along the way, because the asphalt was so fresh.

Once I got to the Walmart, though, I realized it shared a parking lot with a Staples, so I went there.

I found two 32G cards (I would have been happy with 16G, or even 8G, but there were none in stock) at a price low enough, it actually made up for the cost of gas to drive out!

My daughter had given me her card and a shopping list, so I hit the Walmart, too. Then, it was home by a different route!

Once home, I formatted the cards, then finished my morning rounds, which included switching out the memory cards. Though we had a good rainfall yesterday, we’re heating up over the next while, and won’t get rain again for some time (if we get it in our area at all), so I gave the all the garden beds a good watering.

I’m just amazed by how quickly this pumpkin is turning colour! Obviously, it’s not going to reach anywhere near its potential, but we made no effort to do that. I prefer to have a pumpkin that doesn’t need a forklift to carry. 😉

I’ve been eyeballing our long range forecast and, so far, it looks like the mild temperatures will continue well into September. Our average first frost date of Sept. 10 is expected to have a high of 19C/66F, and a low of 10C/50F. The middle of the month is looking to have lows of 5C/41F. Forecasts that far ahead are far from reliable, of course, but it is hopeful. Every mild day is that more more time for all the stuff that’s behind in the garden to catch up!

It’ll also be good for the litters of kittens that were born later in the season, too!

The Re-Farmer

Adjusted, and our visitors

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! 😁

The Re-Farmer