Cutting back

My original plan for this afternoon was to continue mowing, but I decided it was going to get too hot to be walking back and for for hours in the sun.

So I decided cutting back trees for hours was somehow better. 😁

Oh, to be fair, pruning the trees did allow me to spend more time in the shade than if I were mowing.

Except when I was hauling branches to the chipping pile.

Ah, well. The job needed to be done! It did eventually get too hot, though. We were supposed to reach our high of 25C/77F at 6pm. Instead we hit it by 2pm. As I write this, we’re at a humidex of 27C/81F. Definitely not good for me to be outside doing manual labour.

I didn’t even think to take “before” pictures, as I’ve taken so many pictures of the area for other reasons. This is what the area in front of the outhouse looks like now.

The arrows point to where two large branches were cut away. They were in the path of that big, dead spruce tree, when it gets cut down. There is now a clear gap for the spruce to fall. Removing them did take out some of the shade, but this is an elm. It’ll sent up new branches in no time, and they will grow in dense and bushy, so there will be share here again, soon enough.

These are the cut down pieces of the second branch I cut away from that tree. Both of them were about the same size, so there was about twice what you see in the photos that got broken down before they were manageable for hauling away. There were also quite a few dead branches that got cleared out, too.

There is another elm nearby that has many dead branches on it, but it won’t be cleaned up just yet. The way it’s leaning, the pieces might fall on the garlic and yellow pear tomato beds. It can wait until those beds have been harvested.

Once everything was hauled away and cleaned up, I was quite ready to go inside, but decided to clear some of the branches overhanging the sunchokes and asparagus beds. Then a few more… and a few more…

I did finally stop, though there are still more branches to take down. It was just getting too hot, and I can’t handle heat like I could in my younger days! I did move the gate and some old branches that were too big for our chipper to go around the other side of the chain link fence and clear the tall grass away, too.

When the tree guys come with their industrial chipper, they’ll have more than just rotting branches that have been sitting for years to chip. 😊

Time to cool down inside for a little while!

The Re-Farmer

Insistent!

My daughter and I made a quick morning trip into town, and came back to kittens all over the place.

Which makes backing the vehicle up to the house a bit nerve wracking. I was more than happy when we unloaded and I could park the car.

While putting around afterwards, I could hear one of the mamas growling, so I took a look at what was going on.

There were three kittens trying to nurse, and she was not happy about that!

They were very insistent. Especially this one…

Poor mama just can’t catch a break! Not even to eat!

I know how she feels. There was a time… 😜 🤣

The Re-Farmer

A surprise critter!

One of the things about leaving the sun room doors slightly open for the kittens is that sometimes, other critters get in, too.

Usually skunks.

Last night, the girls went to see the kittens and work on socializing them, when they saw a strange critter running around. If looked kinda like a squirrel, but the we have red squirrels around here, and it wasn’t one of those. Possibly a chipmunk? Seeing it run around some more, they thought it looked like it might be a flying squirrel, which couldn’t be possible. Could it?

I tried to get a picture, but this was the best I could manage.

We did get a better look at it as it tried to climb the walls and around the tops of the windows.

It was most definitely a flier.

It turns out that we do have a native flying squirrel! The Northern Flying Squirrel.

Not once, even as a kid growing up here, have we ever seen a flying squirrel. Just our usual red squirrels.

They are SO flippin’ cute!

I want to snuggle it. 😂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and first purple beans!

Check it out! Our largest morning harvest, yet!

There were very few yellow beans to pick this morning. The bush beans seem to be winding down. There were more of the green pole beans to pick, though – and our first purple beans!

There are still a few peas on the first planting, while the second planting of peas are getting into their prime. I found more cucumbers than expected. Enough to make a decent size cucumber salad.

I finally picked the one Sophie’s Choice tomato that was looking like it could have been picked a while ago. It didn’t seem to be getting any redder, so I went ahead and grabbed it. I also grabbed the reddest Cup of Moldova tomatoes. The one that fell off while I tried to get the clip loose has ripened indoors, so there are two of them for my husband and the girls to taste test later on.

I picked what seemed to be the largest of the turnips to taste test as well. They are not a large variety and golf ball size is supposed to be when they have the best flavour. I also pulled a couple of the largest looking beets, to see how they are, and… they’re not doing well at all.

But we have something. And something is better than nothing!

I had done some recordings to make another garden tour video in the morning, but after going over them, I went back out to re-record most of them in the early evening. The final video will have a mix of both. I have this terrible habit of using the wrong words for things and not even noticing. Like saying “purple corn” when I meant to say “purple peas”. That sort of thing. I might have time to work on editing it this evening, but I’m not sure just yet. It depends on how things go after I get back from my mother’s, this afternoon.

We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Can’t close the door…

My husband took the compost bucket our for me last night, leaving the sun room door open behind him. When he got back, the sun room was full of kittens, so he left the door open.

I went out last night to close it, and there was at least half a dozen kittens on the swing bench, and others running around, freaking out because I’d walked into the room.

The kibble was out, so I topped up all the trays, including the one in the sun room. I didn’t want to risk trapping kittens in there overnight, so I left the inner and outer doors slightly open, so they could go in and out still.

Before heading out this morning, I looked out the bathroom window and there were so many kittens on the swing bench, I could hardly see the seat.

Of course, the more feral ones ran off as soon as they heard the old kitchen doors as I started heading out, but not all of them disappeared.

The calico ran off a moment after I got the shot, then the black and white one ran into the mini greenhouse shelf. The third one is one of the two that are the most socialized. I was able to pick it up and cuddle it. The other black and white that lets us hold it was nearby, and for a while, I was sitting on the bench holding both of them.

So it looks like we won’t be able to close the sun room door for a while! I’ll have to put the rope/knob system back. Basically, the knobs for the two doors are tied to each other, with the rope going through the arm bar in the door frame. This allows me to have the doors almost closed, and the wind (or rough housing critters) can’t open them all the way.

Hopefully, their curiosity about the sun room will also have them getting more used to our presence, and help with socialization.

The Re-Farmer

Kitty cats and sour cherries

I’m happy to say that I’ve been seeing Potato Beetle around. He joined me while I was tending things in the garden, yesterday evening.

The cats do like the cardboard mulch around the silver buffalo berry!

Unfortunately, he’s a bit too spry and back to normal. He went after Rolando Moon. Then I saw him and Sad Face stalking each other. I broke that up before it became an actual fight, only to later see him stalking The Distinguished Guest!

I dissuaded them from fighting, but Potato Beetle is looking like he’s wanting to reestablish his top spot in the pecking order.

Aren’t they supposed to be less aggressive after losing their nibs?

Well. At least he’s staying close to home.

He showed up this morning, while I was putting kibble out, but he had no interest in the other trays. He wanted his personal food dish in the sun room! So I let him in and left the door open, so he could come and go as he pleased.

While doing my morning rounds, I took recordings for a new garden tour video. I’ll be working on editing it later today.

I also had a chance to pick cherries.

These are the cherries that I could reach without a ladder. I could pull some branches down, but there are still plenty higher up that need to be picked. The gallon bucket was about 3/4 full. These have been laid out in a pair of trays in a single layer, and are in the big freezer. Once they’re frozen, we’ll bag them up. I wouldn’t mind trying to make wine with these. It’s bee a long time since we’ve tried to make wine. The problem is having a cat-safe space for the carboy. There just isn’t any. 😕😒

After washing off the cherries with the hose, I starting into the sun room, only to find the netting I’d put on the swing bench, on the floor in front of the door.

The bench was occupied.

The sun room was just crawling with kittens! These three, and their mama, were relaxing, but you can just see the tail tip of the one that ran between the window and the bench. Some of the big kittens were in there, too. My presence was panicking them, though. One ran into a window, and another into the back of the inner door, trying to get out. *sigh* So I was careful to skirt around and make sure they could access the door as I picked up the netting, then brought the cherries inside. The mama ran off, too, but the three kittens in the photo, stayed.

That mama has this permanent angry expression on her face. 😄

Today is looking to be a really nice day for work outside, so I’m going to see what I can catch up on. Maybe say hello to the cows. I can see them on the security camera’s live feed, at the fence along the driveway. 😊

Mostly, though, I need to finish mowing. After working in the old garden area last time, though, I had better check the blade and see if I need to sharpen it, first!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: new growth, surprise growth, fall planting and our biggest harvest yet.

There is some lovely growth happening in the garden right now.

While we have lots of Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes ripening on their vines, these Yellow Pear tomatoes are looking to have a good crop, too. They are actually turning out larger than I expected for this variety. It should be interesting when they finally start turning colour!

These Carminat bean pods are getting so very long! I love their gorgeous dark purple.

With the purple pole beans, we can see quite a few pods developing, though the vines are still trying to extend their reach, and blooming all the way. The green pole beans (sheychelles) have wispy little pods forming, too.

Then I started weeding and discovered a hidden surprise.

There are ripe pods hidden among the greens! It turns out these beans start developing right near the ground, unlike the Carminat, which have no flowers or pods at all near the ground.

Awesome!

After finding these, I made a point of looking more closely at the Blue Grey Speckled Tepary beans – the shelling beans – too. They’ve been blooming for a while, but are still such tiny and delicate plants.

Sure enough, I found time tiny pods starting to form. Since these beans are for shelling only, they’ll just get weeding and watering until the pods are all dried.

We actually have yellow zucchini this year! Last year, I was sure we had at least one germinated, but after transplanting, all we got were green zucchini. So I am happy to get some this year. Especially since we still don’t have any green zucchini developing! We did have female flowers, but there were no male flowers blooming at the same time to pollinate them.

We are finally getting more Sunburst patty pan squash, too. There was also one Magda squash ready to harvest.

All the squash are SO far behind. The squash patch, which is mostly winter squash, and the summer squash bed should be enveloped in plants. It’s unlikely we have enough growing season left for most of them, but we should still get something from the smaller varieties.

Here is this morning’s harvest!

Yes, the peas are still producing! There was only a handful to harvest from the second planting, but it’s the most I’ve been able to pick in one day, this year. We have both the yellow bush beans, and the green pole beans.

With the lettuce, we normally just go in and grab however many leaves we want. This time, I harvested the plants in one area of the L shaped bed in the old kitchen garden, so that the space can be used again.

I was planning to plant fall spinach elsewhere in the main garden area, but changed my mind.

It’s just a small area for now. As more of the bed gets cleared, I’ll plant more.

We got another harvest in this morning, too.

This is the garlic from the bed in the main garden. There isn’t a lot, but they are much larger than last year’s drought garlic!

The other garlic is quite behind, so it might be a while before we can harvest those.

The freshly picked garlic is now strung up under my daughter’s old market tent, where it can get plenty of air circulation as it cures, and we won’t have to worry about it being rained on.

I am quite thrilled by how well these garlic did!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and more progress!

I was a bit later with the kibble today – after yesterday, I allowed myself to sleep in! So there were plenty of mamas waiting for me outside the sun room door.

I was very happy to see Ghost Baby was back. She is so hungry, she almost doesn’t run away while I put the kibble out. In the background, you can see Broccoli’s Mini Me with the black and white.

Oh, I let Potato Beetle out of the sun room yesterday, as he was doing so well. I saw him happily making his way through the outer yard soon after. Today, no sign of him. Hopefully, he won’t have the urge to wander too far, since he won’t be sowing any wild oats anymore.

The little kittens came around later on. I am so happy about these two! They don’t run away unless something has made them nervous. They let me pick them up and pet them. I was even able to pick them both up at the same time, after taking this photo!

At least we are managing to socialist two kittens so far!

The Re-Farmer

My new “toy”

My awesome, wonderful, lovely husband bought me a new toy that arrived in today’s mail!

Isn’t it beautiful?

I know, shortly after we moved here, I saw a draw knife in one of the sheds. I remember using it when I was a kid, stripping bark off of spruce logs. It was old and rusty when I found it, but I’m pretty sure it was still solid.

Now, I can find no trace of it. It’s just gone. I’m still positive I saw it, though. I just can’t remember where!

So my husband bought me a new one!

It’s really solid and wonderfully sharp. My husband made a quick and dirty leather sheath for the blade. Just a strip of heavy leather wrapped around it with snaps to hold it in place. He says he’ll make me a prettier one, later.

I can’t wait to test it out!

The Re-Farmer