Looking for things, and finding some surprises

The girls want to shingle the roof of the water bowl shelter. The paint I got was pretty cheap, and it’s so thin and watery, it doesn’t really cover well. The roof of the shelter is already mostly painted white, and the yellow just can’t go over it well.

We’ve been using some leftover shingles like what is on our roof now for replacing shingles that have blown off. We still have an unopened package of those in a tiny shed by the barn. However we also had shingled in the shed where the roof collapsed under heavy snow this past spring. I’ve been wanting to start cleaning that up so we can salvage some of the wood. Hopefully, we can salvage enough to build a chicken coop. I decided to start cleaning up in there until I could get at the shingles, and a couple other things I want to preserve.

I worked my way to the corner, taking out a LOT of rotten boars, beams and shingles, and was able to get out the antique plow, and the gadget my late brother made to help him install transmissions.

That plow is remarkably heavy to carry! And awkward.

Not as awkward and heavy as this thing I found under it.

I have no clue what it is.

Then I found this surprise, under an old window and sheets of what I think is fibreglass.

What a remarkable window! And the glass is still intact!

It’s now stored in the garage with the van, where I think it will be safest. I would love to be able to clean this up and find a way to use it!

The wheelbarrow has all the shingles that were in there.

I recognise those shingles. They are the shingles from when the addition to the original log cabin part of the house. I spent many hours playing on the roof and remember the colours well.

That roof was installed in the mid 70’s.

They may not be useable. If not, I can go to the other shed, where there is an unopened package of the shingles that we have right now. That was installed in the mid to late 90’s.

Speaking of things that are older than expected…

I knew that shed was old, but I did not think it was “forged nails” old!

The wooden shingles were nailed in place with more modern nails, but the boards were nailed to the trusses with forged nails.

Hundreds of them.

They are all rusted out, with many all bent up or even broken, but I would like to save as many of these as I can.

Of the roof pieces I pulled out, there were only three lengths of wood that were potentially salvageable. The rest are incredibly rotted out. There’s still lots to clean up, but I’ve already got a substantial pile for burning – after I’ve salvaged as many of the forged nails as I can! It’s the walls that I expect to be able to salvage more, and it’s going to be a while before we can start tearing those down.

Whether or not there’s enough useable wood to build a chicken coop with it, I have no idea at this point -but I’m still hopeful!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that’s a concern!

After seeing a deer eating cat kibble out of the kibble house, it was no surprise to find the trays were completely empty and tossed about this morning.

What was alarming was the remarkable amount of blood, inside the kibble house!

I was able to get a photo after I’d straightened things out and the cats had a chance to eat. This is the largest patch of blood, but there was blood all across to the other side, too.

You can even see spots of blood around – and in! – the water bowls!

None of the cats looked injured. I was worried when I couldn’t see Potato Beetle right away, but then he came running and went into the sun room to eat.

I noticed that the heated water bowls water was frozen, so I checked through the opening in the cat’s house, confirming that it’s still plugged in. I knew the extension cord into the house was still plugged in, which left one more place to check.

That required some digging.

We have the plug ends in a waterproof cord protector. While clearing the snow from along the sun room, so the sump pump hose could be put back where it belonged, the extension cord running under the door got snagged a bit. The door kept the cord from being pulled from that direction, so this cord protector got pulled, instead. I thought perhaps it might have been enough to unplug the cords a bit, inside.

They were fine.

I did, however, find this.

More blood drops, next to the deer poop.

There was a very small blood trail up the shoveled cat path to the storage house, then it continued down the path the cats made in the snow, along the side of the building. The cat’s path then splits, with one going around the back of the building, and the other continuing across the yard towards the collapsing log building. The snow was too deep for me to follow it, but I could see a few spots of red towards the collapsing building.

I don’t hear anything on that side of the house from my office/bedroom, but the girls never heard anything either, and they usually hear all of the cat fights. My husband’s window is closest, but he sleeps with a CPAP, so he doesn’t hear anything. It’s not loud, but enough to make a difference.

For the amount of blood in the kibble house, I would expect it to be really obvious if one of the yard cats was injured, but they all look fine, running around in the sun and enjoying themselves. I stayed out to do a burn, and had plenty of time to watch them as they checked me out. No visible signs of injury.

Which is both alarming and perplexing.

Since I was outside, anyhow, I left the door to the sun room open.

Which Rolando Moon appreciated!

They all like that box with the old pillow in it best. 😀

They will be most upset, when this corner gets converted to a greenhouse again!

I’ve left the doors open slightly, and let Rolando Moon continue to enjoy her sun spot. 🙂


I’m still waiting to hear from the mechanic about our van. When that’s ready, I’ll drive my mother’s car over and switch vehicles, so it can be checked again. The codes that came up for my mother’s car were not particularly informative. On the one hand, it could simply be that work was done, and the check engine like would turn off on its own after a few days. On the other, it could be transmission troubles. I’d been messaging with my brother as well as the mechanic, yesterday. My mother has had troubles with this car, with my brother getting things taken care of for her until we took that job over, for a long time. She’s told me to sell the car a few times. I mentioned this to the mechanic; he knows what budget I have left, the last of which is going towards the van right now, and that we are on a fixed income. He told me he would do a complete safety check and see what comes up, as well as looking up the value of the car. If it does end up needing more work than it’s worth, he said he’d be willing to buy it off of us for his lot. It turns out he has a few cars he sells, too. I had no idea until yesterday! I mentioned that we do need a small car for my mother, since it’s dangerous for her to struggle in and out of our van, he said he has a few smaller cars, and would be willing to take my mother’s car in as a trade.

That takes a load off. I would, of course, still talk to my mother and brother about it, if it came to that point. My brother is already up to date on the situation, but I’m not going to try to explain it to my mother, just yet. It’s entirely possible there’s no major problem at all, and all we’ll need is for the mechanic to reset the codes.

In other things, today is the first day of Lent. For the last few years, the thing I’ve given up for Lent has been Facebook. As I’ve been signing up on a number of platforms to try and move away from Facebook, I’ll be giving them all up for Lent. Even on platforms like Messenger, Signal and Telegram, I’ll be staying off groups and just using them for direct communication, and my video platforms will be reduced to research and learning videos only. Blogging will continue as usual, of course.

It’s not going to be easy. I spend way too much time online, though, so this will be a good thing. Besides, if it was easy, it wouldn’t mean much to give it up for Lent!

The Re-Farmer

Morning mystery… solved?

Though my husband had been able to feed the outside cats this morning, when I headed out an hour or so later, I found some of the kibble trays already needed to be topped up. While I was doing that, I came upon some mysteries.

The most obvious one was the knocked over concrete pedestal. We often see a cat perched on top of it. It’s heavy, but because of the height, not as stable as I would like, which is why it’s not being used to hold the concrete Mary statue that I think it was originally used for.

This was more of a surprise.

The shrine was not maintained over the years, so there’s quite a lot of rotted wood, but what on earth could do this sort of damage? The cats like to go up here, too. Could there have been a massive cat fight? Even so, how could the cats have done this sort of damage?

Then there was this. That chicken wire is what had been protecting the cucamelon and gourd bed. Last night, it was in the upright wheelbarrow, waiting to be put away for the season.

If there had been a cat fight this violent and far ranging, we would have heard something. Wouldn’t we?

I continued my morning rounds, heading up the driveway to check the gate and switch out the memory cards in the trail cams.

I had lots of company this morning!

Though there are six cats in this photo, I ended up with eight of them, following me around!

I found it funny that Agnoos and … one of the ‘icouses (“Sadicous, I think)… found the frost covered plywood “bridge” nicer on their toes than the ground!

While the kittens kept their distance and explored the driveway and culvert, I had Creamsicle Baby, Nutmeg, Rolando Moon and even Butterscotch, all vying for attention! Creamsicle Baby in particular was so demanding of attention, he was not only winding around my feet while I walked, but even jumping up to grab my hands. I was carrying Nutmeg then, later, Butterscotch, so I couldn’t bend over to pet him. He would not let me pick him up when I tried, though.

While continuing my rounds, I made a point of checking out where our sign is going to be set up. My brother really wants to get those posts in before the ground freezes too hard. He’ll be coming out on Saturday, which is supposed to be warmer, and the posts will be installed right at the fence line, so as not to mess with municipal rules. He ended up getting four 8′ posts – two for the sign, and two, just in case. He decided to get the taller posts so the sign would be higher. If the posts are 2′ in the ground, then the top of the sign will be at 6′ instead of 5′, as it would have been with the 7′ posts he originally intended to get. Higher means more visibility, and it’ll be harder to vandalize. Sad thing to have to take into account. I’ve been sending photos of the sign in progress to my brother, and after one set of them, he answered by basically saying “it’s looking good… it’s going to get vandalized…”

With that in mind, he plans to use carriage bolts to attach the sign.

When I started working on this sign, I basically used whatever I could salvage. I found the piece of plywood in the barn, the white paint was left over from fixing the sun room door frame, I already had the reflective paint I’d bought for something else, etc.. The only money I spent was on the paint for the lettering, which I didn’t skimp on since it will be used for other things, too, and a set of craft brushes for the lettering. Since I knew the paint would ruin the brushes, I bought the cheapest ones I could find. Then my brother finds out what I’m doing, and suddenly he’s all excited about it and buying fence posts and carriage bolts! 😀 The posts, alone, cost more than what I spent! So sweet of him. I’ll just have to touch up the bolts with white paint, so they won’t be big black circles in the lettering.

With that in mind, when I came in from my rounds, I paused to finish painting the sign. This time, I used a much smaller brush and used it to straighten edges, fix some serifs, and basically make it look all nice and tidy. Well. As much as I can, with my shaky hands. It’s not perfect, by any means, but not anything anyone will notice from the road.

It’s not done, and the paint has a couple of days to dry before the sign will be installed. It’s much sooner than I expected, but that’s okay. Hopefully, our vandal will find it too chilly to try and damage it.

Speaking of which, I have a court date for our restraining order, tomorrow. It’s been over a year since I filed for it. Because of the repeated delays due to restrictions and shut downs, this time the judge actually wants me there to ask me questions. Hopefully, this means it will be finally granted, and our vandal will be required to get the mental health help he needs.


Once the sign was done, I finally sat down to check the trail cam files – and got a surprise!

A cow, walking up to the gate and checking it out.


The electric fence had just been fixed, yesterday!

The funny thing is, as I was walking up the driveway, I saw the hoof prints of a cow, frozen into the gravel of the driveway. I just figured they were from the cow that got caught on the trail cam, the night before.

As soon as I could, I headed back outside to check the outer yard fence line.

Clearly, something did go through here, pulling the wire into our side of the fence, but maybe a calf, not a full sized cow!

I then went to the section of fence they had gone through previously, and it was clearly where they had come through. The tall grass was trampled, and there was plenty of dung about. The one cow I saw on the trail cam clearly had company!

The time stamp on the trail cam video (it’s a good thing we have two cameras on the gate, because while both had their motion sensors triggered, the cow was visible in the dark in only one of them) was about quarter after 9pm, so by the time I was out this morning, the cows were nowhere to be seen, though I could hear them. I sent a message to the renters to let them know, being sure to tell them there was no urgency. We’ll just keep the inner yard gates closed.

The thing is; last night, while the vehicle gate was closed, the people gate was opened while my daughter and I worked in the yard. With the electric fence fixed, I didn’t bother closing it again.

So… could it be that a cow came into the yard, and did the things I found in the morning? There’s no chance of seeing tracks in the grass and leaves. I can see knocking over the wheelbarrow and pedestal, but how would a cow cause the damage to the shrine?

Is my mystery solved? Or not?

The Re-Farmer

Unexpected harvest, and other things

We were having a lovely rain when I headed out to do my morning rounds. Though we have been getting the odd showers for the past while, things were still starting to dry out. With the high winds yesterday, I actually watered the old kitchen garden, when I noticed all the beet greens were wilted.

With the cooler temperatures and things in the garden winding down, we’re gathering things every few days or so, and the amount we harvest is getting smaller. Mostly, it’s just summer squash. My daughter had recently picked summer squash, so when I went through the garden beds this morning, I wasn’t expecting to actually pick anything.

I was rather surprised to find even a few larger summer squash! The Magda squash have been slow growing this year, so finding two of them large enough to pick is a treat. There are lots of little sunburst pattypans, and after my daughter had already picked the larger ones, I certainly didn’t expect to find more so soon. Yes, I know they can get much larger, but this is the stage we like them best. The only thing that wasn’t a surprise was the big zucchini. Usually, we pick the squash soon after the flowers fall off, but the flower on this one was solidly attached. Even though it was of a size we would normally pick it at, we left it. When I saw it this morning, I just had to pick it. Any bigger, and it’s going to start getting becoming a winter squash! 😀 Maybe some day we will let some zucchini reach that point, but not this year. 🙂

We are supposed to continue to get showers through the afternoon, but I’m hoping things will have a chance to dry up a bit. I really want to tackle that tree that came down in the wind. We really need to get started on any high raised beds for next year. If we can get even just one bed done, I will be happy. I also need to prepare three beds for the garlic we ordered. I were intending to order double what we got last year, but after talking about it with the girls – and looking at our budget – we got the same amount as before; a collection of racombole, purple stripe and porcelain music, 1 pound each. Though the beds they were planted in before are available, we want to rotate them into other beds that did not have alliums in it. Unfortunately, those beds are still being somewhat used right now! However, if I am able to get enough out of the tree to build a high raised bed, it will have fresh garden soil and amendments added to it, so it won’t matter if it’s in a location that had onions this year.

If it’s too wet to break down the tree today, I should still have tomorrow. The weekend is supposed to get quite hot, and we’ve got plans for Saturday. Next week, we’re supposed to get several days with rain, and then things start cooling down a fair bit. As long as I can get enough pieces cut, while it’s dry, we can get some progress on a bed.

Though our overnight temperatures have not been cold enough for frost, some of the more delicate plants were showing signs of what I would otherwise consider frost damage. Some of the cucamelon leaves are showing signs, and part of a Ozark Nest Egg plant had a vine that was growing the highest, suddenly start dropping this morning.

Everything is all winding down, which means things are getting busier. There’s a lot of work to prepare beds for next year, and getting it done often depends on the weather.

In other things, I’m happy to say that since we installed that shut off valve and, in the process, adjusted the pipe so it wasn’t touching another one, and padded it with vibration reducing material, that very disturbing noise we would sometimes hear seems to be gone. It’s hard to say for sure, since the noise didn’t happen every time the well pump turned on, but so far, it’s encouraging.

Something else seems to have gone away.

The woodchucks.

I haven’t seen any of them in almost a week, now. Usually, I’d at least see one peaking out of the entry to their den under the pile of wood, or eating the bird seeds near the living room window but, lately, nothing. I was wondering if they might have gone into hibernation, so I looked it up. They tend to hibernate from October to February, so it’s still too early for that. But then, the sites also said they mate after the come out of hibernation, and we so them going at it in the summer, so who knows.

Very strange.

Not that I’m complaining! 😀

Our 2021 garden: some pruning and cleanup – and we are forewarned!

While doing my rounds this morning, I decided it was time to do some pruning and clean up around the squash and melons.

With the summer squash, I cut away a lot of the bottom leaves, and anything dead or dying. The zucchini didn’t really need it, but the sunburst squash needed quite a bit.

Noting for next year: while I am happy with training the summer squash to grow vertically, and will probably do it again next year, I now know to make extra certain the support poles are more secure. I thought they were, but as you can see in about the middle of the squash bed, one of them has fallen right over under the weight of the squash attached to it – and I’d already added a second support pole with it! The zucchini on the far right of the photo is also tippy.

We are in a strange sort of state right now, where the squash and melons are continuing to bloom and produce, recovering for the extreme heat and dryness over the summer, but also dying off as they reach the end of their growing season. A couple of Halona melon plants were completely died off and got taken out. The single melon on the ground ground had come loose from one of those.

The three biggest Red Kuri squash are coming along nicely. The mottled green one is quite noticeably bigger. With the colours and slightly different shape, I find myself wondering if it got cross pollinated with one of the nearby Teddy squash.

Speaking of which…

There’s a new one! Of the two plants, one of them now has four squash developing on it. 🙂

After I finished pruning the squash and melons, I went through the other beds, doing a bit of cleanup, and found this.

We’ve somehow lost a sunflower!

It doesn’t even look like it was bitten – there is no sign of critter damage anywhere. It looks almost as if it were cut! It’s also in the middle of a row, in the middle of a sunflower block.

Very strange.

I took the seed head inside and put it in a very small bowl, shallow enough for the barely-there stem to reach the water. 🙂

As I was finishing up in the garden, the grader went by on the road, and the driver stopped to talk to me. He let me know that he’d seen a black bear – a big male – on our quarter section, and he thought it was heading for the newly dug out gravel pit for water. He’d actually seen 7 bears, just today! The most he’d ever seen in one day – and it wasn’t even 11:00 yet, at the time I talked to him. He suggested we might want to pick up an air horn to carry with us, so if we see a bear, we can use the noise to scare it off.

One of our neighbours, about a mile away, has been posting photos of a bear that’s been raiding – and destroying – his bird feeders. I would not be expecting any to come to our feeding station, though. With both bird feeders broken, I’ve just been tossing a scoop of seeds directly on the ground, so there’s not a lot to tempt them. Especially since we have zero saskatoons and chokecherries this year, and almost no crab apples, thanks to that one cold night in May. Even the ornamental apples in the old kitchen garden, which would normally be full of tiny bunches of apples, and birds eating them, have nothing. No hawthorn berries, either. Between the drought and the wildfires, this loss of berries would be quite widespread, and the bears are starving at a time they should be building up their fat reserves for the winter.

I really appreciated the grader driver stopping to let me know. I have never seen a bear in our yard, but this is not a normal year, so we will have to keep our eyes open!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and mystery burrow

I had a very happy surprise this morning, as I headed out with kibble for the yard cats.

One of Junk Pile’s kittens was in the cat’s house, looking at me through the window!

Unfortunately, it ran out and off before I could get a photo. To I have these, instead.

Rosencrantz, Nosencrantz and Toesencrantz enjoyed their private dining area. 😀

I got to boop Nosencrantz on her nose as she gave my fingers a sniff, but she wouldn’t let me pet her today.

The kitten that was in the cat’s house is at the food tray, in between her two siblings. It has the same white and grey tabby markings their mother has. The kitten in the front looks just like Bradicous and Chadicous! I’m told I accidentally closed it up in the sun room a couple of nights ago, so I’m going to have to stop leaving the door into the sun room open behind me when I’m working in the yard. The girls had a hard time getting it to leave, because any time they came near, it would high. Apparently, the tuxedo and Nosencrantz were trying to rescue it. 🙂

While picking up fallen branches and adding them to the pile, I had an audience!

I am hoping their curiosity will help us eventually socialize them. 🙂

Kittens make for a great way to start the day!

On another note, we found a mystery burrow yesterday!

We found this near a tree, not far from the old doghouse critter shelters by the outhouse. I was working around there not long ago, so I know it wasn’t there just a few days ago.

We don’t know what critter made this! It’s way too small to be a woodchuck. It might be the size of a gopher/prairie dog hole, which are about half the size or less of a woodchuck, except they leave piles of soil around their dens, too. In fact, that’s part of the mystery. This is a very deep hole. Where is the dirt? There is no dirt scattered around at all. I’ve been trying to think of all the burrowing critters that live in our geographical area, and nothing matches. They are either too big or too small for the hole, or they leave hills around their dens. The closest I can think of is rabbits, and we don’t really have rabbits here. We have hares; the big ol’ jackrabbits that are the size of a small dog. There is one type of small rabbit that might be in our area, but from what I can find of what their dens look like, this isn’t it.

Curious, indeed!

I just moved the garden cam back to the driveway. Maybe I should set it up here, to see what lives here!

The Re-Farmer

Morning Mystery

Well, it looks like we’re down another bird feeder.

This is all I could find this morning. The top cap and the base.

There is no sign of the seed canister and the frame.

The canister is somewhat understandable. It’s just clear plastic, so it would be harder to see if it ended up under the lilacs or something. The frame, however, is red. It should be easily visible.

There is no sign of either.

I’m sure we’ll find them eventually, but I am curious what happened to them. With the winds we’ve been having, I’m almost willing to accept that the feeder was blown apart in the wind. On the one hand, that doesn’t make too much sense, since at least the top would still be on the hanger, and the pieces would be nearby. On the other hand, it seems very unlikely that critters did the damage, because of the weather conditions we had last night. Critters would have been taking shelter, not climbing posts for bird seed. Especially since there are still piles of sunflower seeds on the ground from when the big feeder fell down and broke apart.

Curious, indeed!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: progress, and some mysteries

Gosh, it was so lovely to do my rounds this morning! It has finally cooled down (for all the rain we had yesterday, it was still hot and very muggy!), and as I write this, it’s a lovely 17C/63F outside. There is the possibility of more rain, then things are expected to get hot and sunny again. I don’t know of we’ve had enough rain for the burn bans to relax a bit; it would be nice to be able to light our burn barrel, or use the fire pit.

We do still have a few plant babies in the sun room that will eventually get transplanted. This morning, I found a new gourd seedling.

A third Ozark Nest Egg gourd has appeared! We only planted 2 per pot, so we have plenty of seeds to try again next year – starting much earlier, and with a warmer set up!

With the Thai Bottle gourd, if this one seedling survives, we might at least be able to try them, as they are edible at 4-6 inches. There is no wait for them to reach full maturity. The other gourds, however, were planted for crafting purposes, and with them sprouting so late, they just won’t have the growing season for it.

Another reason I’d like to set up polytunnels and/or greenhouses. Extending our growing season would open up a lot of options for us.

I’m happy to see the grapes are leafing out nicely! They had a slow start (which I am beginning to think is normal for them), but once they do, they grow really fast! There are new vines this morning that were not there, yesterday.

The Peruvian Purple Fingerling potatoes are filling their grow bags faster than any of the other varieties. Gosh, they look so pretty! I love that hit of purple at the stems.

One of the nice things about the clean up I was able to do in the spruce grove this spring, is that I can now cut through it to get to the main garden, while doing my rounds. This morning, I found this lovely explosion.

The wild roses are blooming! The rains have been a huge boost for them. 🙂

As we continue to clean up the spruce grove, everything in here will be cut back and cleaned up. Unlike the spirea, which we are trying to pull out by the roots as much as possible, the roses will just be trimmed to ground level. Once it’s all cleaned out, they should grow back better than ever. This area, however, will probably not get worked on this year. We’re focusing more on the south and west sides for now.

Checking the various garden beds, everything it looking really good and strong. We do have a couple of mysteries, though. One is in the yellow bush beans.

A while back, I noticed a few of the seedlings appeared to have had their heads chopped off. Remarkably, the stumps still seem to be growing!

I’m not sure what did this. Normally, I would have thought it was a deer, but if it was, I would have expected a whole swath of seedlings with their tops gone, like at the ends of the spinach beds. Not 2 here, 1 there, and 2 more in the other row.

Well, whatever it is, it seems to have stopped coming over, as there is no new damage, and nothing is showing up on the trail cam.

There is another mystery, though.

All the radish sprouts have disappeared.

There had been so many sprouts, before the corn started coming up, and now, nothing. Not a trace. Not a stem or leaf to show it was bit by a critter, or cut by an insect. There were only 2 rows with the daikon type radish, but the watermelon radish was interplanted in every row of the other two corn blocks. The corn is coming up nicely, but the radishes have simply disappeared.

It is so very strange!

I should also take back the “no new damage” statement, though this damage is no mystery. Nutmeg has taken to following me along when I do my rounds, wanting attention. While looking at the sunflower transplants, supported by their twine, he decided to rub against the twine, then drop to the ground and start rolling.

Right on a sunflower, breaking the stem.


It wasn’t completely broken off, and it’s been put back between the twine for support, but I doubt it will survive.

Destructive little boy!

As I continued checking the beds, I would stop to do a bit of weeding, and he’d be right in there, pushing at my hands for attention, walking, sitting and rolling on top of the plants! I kept having to move him off the beds, only for him to jump right back, as long as I kept trying to weed.

When the girls and I were just starting to head home from the city yesterday, my husband messaged us to let us know that a low flying airplane had just gone over the house. This morning, it happened again, though it wasn’t an airplane.

Instead, we had a low flying helicopter! Seeing helicopters flying around is not that odd (there is a small airport not that far away), but seeing one flying this low certainly is. I don’t usually see ones coloured like this, either. Usually, they’re black.

When I was done my rounds, I uncovered one of the spinach beds to do some weeding and thinning.

Yes, these are just the thinnings, and just from one side of one bed! They’re packed down a bit in that colander, too. The spinach is doing just fantastic, now that they’re not being eaten by deer. 😉 I was able to uncover the bed on my own, but with are makeshift covers we have right now, it takes 2 people to put the covers back again.

I supposed we’ll eventually get to the point when we’ll have more spinach that needs harvesting than we can eat right away, so I’ve been thinking of what to do with any excess. I know they can be frozen, but why ruin good spinach? 😉 I’ve decided to try dehydrating them, then making spinach powder. This would keep for a long time in a jar on the shelf, and be a handy ingredient to toss into soups, or pasta dough or something like that.

I’ll have to get some photos later, but our chives have started to bloom, and I’ve started using them to make chive blossom vinegar. I picked up a bottle of white wine vinegar, and we’re just adding the cleaned blossoms straight into the bottle, after removing a small amount of vinegar to make space. It will get strained after 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, though we might keep adding more blossoms over the next few days, as the chives finish their blooming. We’ll count it as 2 weeks from when the last of them are in the bottle. 🙂

*sigh* This post has been taking MUCH longer to finish that it should have. Our internet is crappy at the best of times, but whenever we get rains or winds (not even over us, but anywhere to the south of us), we start having troubles connecting. Getting images to load is the worst. It’s taken me half an hour to get the above image to load, and as I’m writing this, it STILL won’t load! Once I get the bloody thing to work, and hopefully get this post published, it’s time to get off the computer before I go completely bonkers!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning Mysteries

While doing my morning rounds, I made sure to check the tulips. Nothing has been showing up on the tulip cam, trying to get at them again. There are files of cats passing in front of the camera, and one of a skunk running along the lilac hedge, as if something had startled it, but that’s it. Nothing has been going after the tulips.

And yet, I found this.

It was on the ground, next to one of the tulips that got its flower bud chomped off, but not the leaves. The only signs of digging in the area were the old ones from before, which was likely a skunk digging for grubs in the leaf mulch. With how deep the girls had buried the bulbs, there should have been a fairly large hole if it had been freshly dug up. The bulb doesn’t even have dirt on it, or in its roots.

As far as I know, it wasn’t there before, though it’s possible it was covered in leaf mulch that got blown off, but… I don’t think so. When I’d seen that something was digging in the leaf mulch, I checked to see if the tulips were damaged, so I’d looked right in that spot. I expect I would have seen it then, if it had been somehow dug up then.

So I brought it inside, and it will be planted, once we’re sure of where we want to put it. The girls and I were thinking to put it in one of the blocks in the retaining wall that has nothing in it right now. That area is going to be draped in mosquito netting to protect it, once the netting comes in, so if it’s planted there, it will get protection from being eaten or dug up.

Still, I have no idea where this came from!

I’ve also been finding another mystery in the mornings.

For the past several mornings, I’ve been finding the rocks at one end of the path we made along the house, scattered like this. I put them back, and the next morning, they’re scattered again. Something has been digging among them. I suspect it has something to do with this being the only section of rocks that had some soil put over them, before I changed my mind about doing that the whole way down. My guess is that it’s the skunk, but there’s really nothing to show, one way or the other, what is doing it.

On the one hand, I’m glad whatever it is, is digging here and not in the garden beds nearby! On the other hand, those rocks are there because I found the concrete pad under the sun room was as thick as I thought it was, and they’re keeping the soil under the concrete from eroding out. The last thing I want is for a critter to start digging under there! The sun room is shifting enough, as it is. :-/

I did see the skunk again, this evening. I was just putting things away before going inside, when I heard a cat get startled out of the kibble house. When I looked, the skunk was in the kibble house, munching away. I made noise to scare it away, and it did start to leave, but it must have been very hungry, because it turned around and started heading quickly towards me, then jumped back into the kibble house to eat. I suspect we have a hungry mama skunk. Kibble is not good for them, though. Ah, well. It seems to have a peaceful relationship with the cats, at least. We need to get one more, smaller, hose to keep hooked up to the tap on that side of the house. Much safer to chase it away by spraying water than walking towards it, making noise!

The Re-Farmer

Another mystery

My older daughter and I went for a walk, and decided to head through the pasture, towards the plowed field.

This was the route I took to check how much I could see of the fire from the night before, and I’m surprised I missed this. I may have been distracted by seeing a bald eagle fly off. It was the first time I’ve seen one this close to the house and outbuildings!

Yeah. That’ll be my excuse for not seeing this.

This, lying in open pasture.

It looks like an oil drum converted into a furnace.

Like so many things we find, we are left with questions.

Converting oil drums into various things isn’t all that unusual. The unusual thing, as so often is the case, is the location.

Why is this here?

I can’t even say it has something to do with the junk pile that’s out this way. This pile, I know my late brother had dumped there, because I recognize the concrete filled oil drum. This was stuff he’d cleared away from the property my parents used to own. That was where we’d lived the last time we lived in this province. The building he’d converted to a workshop and is now being used for storage had been brought from there.

But this was not from there. It’s also quite far from the junk pile, so it’s not like a cow had somehow managed to drag it out (like so many other things we find, scattered about), even if a cow could somehow roll this around.

Yet another mystery!

After checking this out, we went to the junk pile, which my daughter had not yet seen. While poking around she found a few more things for our “found object art display”, where the crushed teapot now rests. Three mugs and two worn Old Spice bottles. 😀 There’s also a toilet, which I intend to salvage and use with the others we’ve found, as a planter or something. The weird thing is, the toilet looks to be in excellent shape. No idea why it’s there, either, but at least with that, I hadn’t walked past it several times since we’ve moved here, and somehow not seen it.

Like the oil drum furnace that’s been sitting there long enough to have lichen growing on it! 😀

The Re-Farmer