Our 2023 Garden: progress, frustration, and a sad find

First, the progress.

I just spent about two hours, working on this bed.

Last year, we had tomatoes against the fence, carrots down the middle, and onions along the bricks in the foreground to about half way, then shallots the rest of the way.

The shallots got drowned, as did most of the carrots at that end. At this time last year, the vehicle gate at the far end of the photo was full of water. While the slightly raised bed meant the surface was above water, it was still too wet for the plant roots.

I set up the tripod and my “spare” cell phone to do a time lapse video of getting this bed ready, which leads me to the frustrating part. When I finished and went to get it off the tripod, I found it was shut down. Low battery. I was curious to find out when it died. I did pause the time lapse part way through, while I went to get something.

I should have stopped the recording instead of pausing it. Then I would at least have had something!

I’ve uploaded the file, but it’s been corrupted by the battery dying. I can’t view the file. Almost 2 hours, inaccessible.

That’s what I get for starting at 73%!

Yeah, it’s charging now.

What I ended up doing was removing the wire “fence” and the dried grass mulch. Then it got loosened with a garden fork before I went back over it by hand, pulling out as many roots and rhizomes as I could. Surprisingly, I kept finding onions! Most of them were even starting to grow. I even found a single shallot that I’d left because it had gone to seed. The seed head was never able to fully mature, but the bulb was still looking viable!

Once I’d cleared the weeds and roots out (including roots from the nearby lilac and elms), the soil got raked back into place, with many pauses to pull out more weeds that got missed. Then I replaced the wire “fence”, planted the onions in the foreground, along the bricks, the single shallot at the opposite end, raked the path clear of grass mulch, weeds and roots. The last step was to water the bed, including the onions and shallot, and pressure spraying the bricks and the boards along the chain link clear of soil.

After I’ve taken a break, I’ll go back to plant peas along the fence. Since the peas will eventually shade anything planted in the rest of the bed, I’m thinking this might be a good place to try planting some of the lettuces we have found ourselves with, since they can also be planted before last frost.

Finally, there’s the sad find.

Before I started working on the bed and was setting up, I decided to check the old dog houses set up near the outhouse, in the off chance one of the cats decided to have their kittens in one of them. The first one I checked, I basically stuck my phone into the opening and took a flash picture, since I can’t actually see all the way to the back.

The entrance to the other old dog house faces the other way, and when I went around to look inside, I was started to find an orange cat lying in the opening, with its head right in the entry.

It was clearly dead for some time.

At first, I thought it was Rolando Moon. We haven’t seen her in a while, and she’s an old cat, but then I realized this cat had longer fur. We’d spotted a long haired orange cat a couple of times – once when my daughter ran out to break up a cat fight. Since then, I’ve found a whole lot of long orange cat fur around the van in the garage, so clearly this cat was being given a hard time by Shop Towel (aka: Sad Face). I actually looked around and under the van to see if I would find an injured cat, there was that much fur. No blood trails, though.

Well, it now looks like the cat found its way into the shelter of one of the old dog houses and succumbed to its injuries.


We didn’t know this cat and have no idea where it came from, but I still feel sad that it came here, only to end up dying. At least the ground isn’t frozen anymore, so we’ll be able to bury it.


I really wish Shop Towel wasn’t so aggressive with the other toms. We have a lot of males reaching adulthood right now. Hopefully, he won’t start going after them, too! I’ve been seeing him around for the last few days. He looks in rough shape, so he’s not getting out of these battles unscathed, but still not as rough as The Distinguished Guest – someone else we haven’t seen in a while.

Taking care of the colony is a joy, but it does have its sad times, like today.


The Re-Farmer


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