Close, closer and gone

Last night, Little Braveheart was willing to come close to me.

But not as close as this little guy I found on the rain barrel, when I lifted off the screen cover.

He even came closer and posed for a picture, with the phone just inches away!

Then he went down the outside of the barrel, much to my relief. The screen cover did its job in keeping critters out, as well as debris, but it only works while it’s on! 😀

I remembered to check on the caterpillar last night, too.


It is gone!

So are the berries that were left on the tree, next to it. Stripped clean!

I am thinking a deer had a snack of berries, and knocked the caterpillar off in the process.


I was really hoping to be able to see its transformation!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: spruce grove perimeter, by the Saskatoons

One of the clean up goals that got shifted back a year, due to my husband’s hospitalization and other issues last year, was to clear the spruce grove. Not all of it; parts of it will be left overgrown to shelter critters. I do want to get most of it cleared. This will be a multi-year project, but at the very least, I want to get the perimeter done.

That was supposed to include clearing around and into the junk pile, but now that we know Butterscotch’s kittens are in there, that will wait.

We never did get a chance to clear things out to reach the Saskatoon bushes near the junk pile, but I still wanted to get that done so we can reach them, and the chokecherry trees beside them.

Here is how it looked when I started.

The spruce tree in the foreground is still alive, while the tree on the left of the photo is dead, as is the one by the junk pile on the right of the photo.

(Also, I set up containers for kibble and water for the babies, and yes, they’ve already discovered them!)

There had been quite a few bushes and spirea at the base of the live spruce tree, and crowding the horseradish, that I cleared away a couple of nights ago (it was too dark for photos at the time), so a start has already been made in this area.

The first thing to do was cut away the elms that have been growing in the old wine barrel planter that used to be such a favorite place for the kittens to nap and play in. Then I began working a bit towards the junk pile. Not too far, though, as the spirea in there creates places for them to hide in.

I’d forgotten about that tire rim that was buried in there… 😀

After moving the tire rim into the old wine barrel planter, I discovered something else.

Those are concrete blocks, buried in the soil!

When we first moved here, the wine barrel on its side in the bushes was intact enough that the cats would sit on it. It was another favorite spot for them, until it rotted out enough that the staves collapsed! 😀

It looks like the tire rim was placed on top of the blocks, then the barrel on top of the tire rim until it eventually got knocked over. Unlike the planter, this was a whole barrel, not one cut in half to be a planter. I don’t know what it was set up for.

I’ve left the blocks for now, and did not clear further around the remains of the barrel. I figure this makes a nice spot for kittens to play in!

I didn’t want to go any closer to the junk pile – I don’t want Butterscotch to move her babies! – so I started working around the other side. Some of this area, I’d cleared before, but it doesn’t take long for spirea to spread out again!

Here is how it looked when I stopped for the day.

I would have liked to continue, but even working in the shade, it was just getting too hot.

The Saskatoon bushes are still loaded with – now dried – berries. I’m sure the birds will enjoy what we could not harvest. The chokecherry trees in there should be ready for picking fairly soon. It is likely too late in the season to make a difference this year, but clearing up around them will likely result in better growing and fruiting conditions, too.

Here is another view.

For this photo, I’m standing near the horseradish and facing right into the Saskatoon bushes, with a few chokecherry branches hanging over from the side.

This is how it looks from further in.

All those skinny little trunks you see on the right half of the photo are chokecherries and Saskatoon bushes.

When I worked in here previously, I’d cleared away the spirea up to a spruce tree with an extension cord hanging down from it. So most of this area had already been done. I only worked closest to the Saskatoon bushes and chokecherry trees for now. Eventually, I want to clear all the spirea out of here. There are wild roses growing not far from here, and I would like to encourage those to spread, instead.

As for this area near the edge of the spruce grove, I want to keep it clear of undergrowth. It’s one of the areas I want to eventually set up a bench and create a little haven, near the stone cross my late brother set up at the very edge of the grove. If possible, this would be an area I’d like to encourage moss to grow as a ground cover.

It was a fairly small area that got cleared, but there was a lot in it! I was able to pull most of the spirea out by the roots. With some of them, there was a LOT of root coming up with them! The topsoil here is decades of decomposed spruce needles, so it’s quite loose, making it much easier to get those roots out.

Eventually, we will have the tree company that cleared our roof and power lines come back and take out the two dead spruce trees here. We were supposed to get that done this spring, or at least get the chipping done, but we ended up spending all our money fixing vehicles and replacing appliances. We probably won’t be able to get it done this year at all.

Which gives me more time to clean up the area, which will make it easier for them to get at the dead trees.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

I found a little friend! So exciting. :-)

Okay, before I show you what I found while picking chokecherries, I’ll share with you why I am so super excited about it.

When I was quite young, I spotted a caterpillar on the leaves of a crabapple tree. It was unlike any I had seen before. Not only that, but I found three more!

I don’t know how long I spent, examining them while they worked on spinning silk around them. Their green colour, almost exactly like the leaves they were on. The yellow stripe around the body, with the row of spots along it. The way it’s real head was tucked and hidden below with – most fascinating of all – “eyes” that made it look almost like a fish head, with a very distinctive line next to the “pupils”! With another stripe around the real head, it looked like a fish holding something in its mouth. 😀 Then there was the fact that, if I poked one (gently, I must add), two little orange “horns” would emerge from its body.

I was absolutely thrilled by them.

So it was with great excitement that I went running to my mother and brought her over to see them. She seemed very interested in the one I showed her, and even asked me to show her the others as well. I enthusiastically obliged, pointing out each leaf that had one of these caterpillars.

Then, to my shock and dismay, my mother proceeded to bash at the leaves, sending the caterpillars flying. After making sure she got rid of all 4 of them, she left. I searched in the grass for them, hoping to put them back on the tree, but never found them.

As you can imagine, that was the last time I shared my excitement over a critter with my mother. In retrospect, my mother probably assumed it was something that would eat and harm the apple tree. She certainly never took the time to explain it to me.

For years, every summer, I would find myself searching among the leaves of the apple trees, hoping to see this caterpillar again. It took me even more years (in the years before internet! LOL), but I eventually was able to identify them as the caterpillars of Tiger Swallowtails. The butterflies are rather common out here, but finding the caterpillars, not so much!

You can probably imagine my childlike thrill and excitement when I finally saw one, today!

I’ve cropped the photos, but did not resize them, so you can click on them for full size.

With its little bed of silk on the chokecherry leaf, it almost looks like it is floating in mid air!

Doesn’t that look almost like a fish head? A bit like the local catfish.

In this photo, you can see just a little bit of the real head, tucked underneath.

This little guy is, of course, different from the ones I saw as a kid. It’s a darker green and more mottled looking. The spots along the yellow stripe around the body are harder to see. This one also has a spot of purple in the black “pupil” of the false eyes. It is still, however, the same kind of caterpillar, and I couldn’t be happier!

I did, of course, call the girls over to see it, too! I had told them the story about finding the caterpillars – and what my mom did to them – years ago, so it was fantastic to be able to share this with them.

I then took great care not to disturb it, while picking berries. Alas, I did not see any others, but I did look! 🙂

I am so excited!!!!

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: to the chokecherry trees

Normally, I would not have done clean up on a Sunday, but the chokecherries needed to be picked, and we couldn’t get at the two trees with the ripest berries.

Which turned out to be 4 trees… 😀

Here are the ones behind the garden beds where the old wood pile used to be.

The arrows are pointing to the two chokecherry trees. They are close enough together that I had thought they were just one tree at first. All around them are dead cherry trees with live cherry saplings coming up the bottoms, along with other odds and sots that have come up since I cleared things away last year.

I started on this side because I figured taking out the dead cherry trees would be the more difficult job. Especially since we were getting spotty rain, so I wasn’t going to string out extension cords to use the electric reciprocating saw!

This is how it looked when I stopped.

The fallen spruce tree and poplars behind them kinda make it look like they’re not cleared, but there is plenty of space to walk around them now.

While the girls started picking berries, I moved on to the other side. This is how it looked before I started.

In the spring, I had cleared a path to the junk pile to access the wood stacked in it, and I’ve been trying to keep things clear around the Saskatoons. You can see those on either side of what’s left of the path, and the arrow is pointing to the chokecherry tree. Which is actually two trees next to each other.

Most of what’s here is spirea and thistles, with a bit of burdock, plus a few other things hidden by the spirea. I figured this side would be much easier to clear, since I could basically just yank them out of the ground.

I really should know better by now.

The spirea and thistles were, indeed, easy to pull up.

First, I’d forgotten about the fallen spruce tree in there, and how close it was to where I needed to go.

It’s been there for a long time, so I was pulling out bits and pieces that had broken off as it fell, as well as breaking off or pulling out rotten branches that were jutting out all over.

I’d uncovered the one stump that I already knew about, then found another, smaller one, beyond it.

As I worked my way closer, I found something else.

There’s a reason we call what started out as a pile of neatly stacked boards that used to be covered with a tarp, a “junk pile”.

So… that’s… wire? It looks like the wire from those little decorative fences you can get to put around garden beds.

Also, there’s an old pallet there.

Because, of course there is.

Don’t mind me. After clearing out the old wood pile and dragging away a couple dozen rotten pallets, I’m not much of a fan of those anymore! 😀 I remember having to work my way around it, while searching for boards in the pile that weren’t too badly rotted.

As I worked my way closer, I found the chokecherry trees grew through the partially rolled up wire. Which gives an idea of how long it’s been hidden there!

That wire really does look like it’s from one of those little fences, undone. It even has cross pieces still wound into the twists.

At this point, I stopped!

It was clear enough to reach the trees, and most of the berries. So I started picking those, while the girls harvested carrots and little squashes. 🙂

The piles of debris will wait until tomorrow to be hauled away!

This pile is almost all spirea and thistles, with a few smaller branches from the fallen spruce tree tossed in. I had to pull up some of the wildflowers, too. They’ve shown up all over the place this year, so there are plenty more around the yard.

This pile is mostly the cherry I cleared away from around the first chokecherry trees, plus the larger pieces of the dead spruce tree I was working around.

These are pieces I set aside to keep for future crafting or carving purposes.

As for the chokecherries, we picked about a gallon pail of them. The girls had picked from the tree by the squash beds, and the ones among the lilac hedge, too. Lots were left behind for the birds. We are finding more chokecherry trees deeper in the spruce grove, that are not ripe yet, so we will have more to pick, later on.

Now to decide on what to do with them. 🙂

The Re-Farmer


As we work on clearing, cleaning and reclaiming the yard and planting our first garden beds, I’ve been keeping a close eye on details to keep in mind for the future. Things that will help us decide what needs to be done next, what to change or what to keep the same.

This morning, I found myself making a lot of comparisons.

The cutest one is the cucamelons.

This is the largest one that is developing, with my fingers giving an idea of just show small these are!

Isn’t that just the cutest thing? 😀 This is the first one big enough to start seeing the patterns developing.

The trellis I made for these is just cotton yarn. It is working very well, except for on thing.

The cats.

When I am out there and the boys come over for some attention, they will plow their way through the trellis, pulling tendrils off in the process, then look at me all confused over why I’m flipping out at them. 😀 They also try to lean and rub against the strands of yarn, only to flop over onto the plants. !!!

We already know that this location doesn’t have enough sun for cucamelons. If we grow them in the future, they will be planted somewhere with full sun. Our original intention was to plant them against the chain link fence for them to climb, and the cats are showing us exactly why that’s a very good idea! If not there, then we will have to make sure to have trellises that are sturdier, with strands much closer together. Not because the cucamelons themselves need it, but because of the cats!

Here is another comparison. These two squash plants, with the mottled leaves.

They look pretty much like the same kind of plant, don’t they?

Now look at the developing squash.

They’re completely different!

I’m looking forward to being able to start harvesting these. My favourite way to eat them is raw, with dip. No need for anything else, when they’re at just the right stage. 🙂

It was looking at the chokecherry trees that I am really seeing what a difference even minor changes in conditions makes.

This first one is at the south side of the garden where the squash beds are.

This one gets sun in the mornings, but for most of the day, it is shaded by spruce and maple trees to the South and West of it. It is not crowded by other trees. It has quite a lot of berries that are looking big and juicy (well… as much as chokecherries can be! 😉 ). Even last year, during the drought, it had larger berries. While I do not specifically water this tree, I do sometimes water the little patch of flowers and raspberries on one side of it, and the black current bush (my sister confirmed what it was for me) on the other side, so it does get extra water from that. While is has larger berries, it also ripens later. As you can see, the berries are still very much on the red side of things.

This next one is the chokecherry tree that is engulfed by lilacs.

This one gets full sun for most of the day, though it does get slightly shaded at the end of the day, by the trees my mother left to grow after she moved the raspberries they’d self-sown in between, years ago. This whole area gets quite dry, and we do not make any effort to try and water anything here.

The berries themselves are noticeably smaller than in the previous tree, and there are less of them, but they are also ripening faster.

Then there is this tree, right nearby.

This is the top of a young, small tree that was self-sown and allowed to grow (rather than get mowed over, like all the other saplings) in a grassy band between the old garden area (with the row of trees mentioned previously) and the lilac hedge. It might get some shade towards the end of the day, but otherwise gets full sun. Our first summer here, it did not produce fruit yet, and I wasn’t even completely sure what kind of tree it was. Our second summer, it had a few berries. This year, it has matured enough to produce quite a lot of berries. With full sun most of the day, not at all crowded, and little moisture, the berries are still not as big as the ones closer to the house, but the clusters are dense and ripening quickly.

You can see how this tree is situated in the background of the next photo, below. This next chokecherry is also among the lilacs, but on the edge of the hedge, not in the middle of them.

Here, it gets no shade at all. It has lots of berries that are already ripe. As you can see, though, some of the leaves are turning yellow. Only a few branches are like this, not all of them. It’s not stopping them from heavily fruiting! Like the other two along this side of the old garden, the berries are not as large as the trees nearer the house.

This next one was a surprise find, along with the Saskatoon berries. This area had been full of spirea that I had pulled up. It’s starting to grow back, so I’ll have to do it again, as pulling them up has been a good thing for other trees. The Saskatoons thrived this summer, and we discovered another chokecherry tree among them.

This area is under spruce trees, both living and dead, getting very little sun. In the above photo are the berries on the North side of the tree, where it gets even less sun. As you can see, they are just turning from green to red here.

This next photo is of the same tree, but on the South side.

That little bit more sunlight sure makes a noticeable difference in how fast they ripen!

Again, while I have not really been watering these trees, they are near the horseradish, and with the spirea taken out, wildflowers have come up and I’ve been watering those. So they will have benefited a bit from that, too. Mostly, though, being under the spruces as they are, they don’t get the full heat of the day, so the soil doesn’t dry out after a rainfall as quickly, either.

Then there is this one…

That’s a chokecherry in the middle of the photo. I had cleared a path to the junk pile you can see part of, to try and find useful pieces of wood in it, but that’s as far as I got so far. The tree itself is not crowded by other, large trees, and is shaded only in the morning hours. It’s surrounded by spirea and thistles, so we can’t get at it right now, but it appears to be just loaded with ripe chokecherries.

Finally, there is this one.

This is the top of a chokecherry tree among the cherries. I can get close to it, but not enough to be able to harvest it until I clear away the cherries around it; mostly cherries that had been killed off by last year’s horrible spring, and the bits that are now growing up from the bases. They create a formidable barrier!

This tree also gets shade in the morning hours only. Our last two summers, I don’t recall seeing any flowers or berries at all. Last summer, I’d cleared away the old wood pile, which turned out to be a much, much larger job than I expected. You can read about it in this series of posts (all links should open in new tabs, so you won’t lose your place!); parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Did I mention it turned out to be a really huge job?


So while there is still lots to clean up to work our way into the spruce grove, what has been done so far made a big difference. I’m thinking that, had the cherries not been so damaged by the previous spring conditions, they would have improved, too. Mind you, the one cherry tree I kept because it managed to actually produce a few berries, and is not at all crowded, did not produce even a blossom this year.

It’s amazing how the same type of tree, while not really all that far apart from each other, are so different based on even minor changes in sun, shade, moisture, etc. When it comes time for us to plant more food trees, the differences among these chokecherry trees is providing us with a lot of information.

Comparisons can be very useful!

The Re-Farmer

Evening visitors, and growth progress

Yesterday evening, I happened to glance out my window facing the garden and saw a deer making its way into the yard. Something startled it and it ran off, but I figured that would be a good time to do my evening rounds – and check the sunflowers!

I headed out through the sun room and found another visitor.

The cheeky little bugger completely ignored me and the noise I was making as I came out the sun room doors.

He seems to have some odd matting in his fur. Or maybe something it caught in it?

It wasn’t until I started moving further from the doorway that he started paying attention to me.

(Yes, I was zooming in to take photos, and then I cropped the photos. I was staying well away from Stinky!)

He was not a happy Stinky! I just kept moving away, and he eventually ran off through the old kitchen garden.

So I made sure to go around the other side of the house, to check the garden! 😀

After checking the sunflowers and making my way back to the house, I saw Stinky again – with a friend! – running through the back yard towards the old garden shed. Of course, that was the direction I needed to go! I was able to skirt around them, then use the garden hose to discourage them from coming closer.

Alas, we did lose one of the smaller sunflowers.

I took this picture this morning. This is one of the third variety of giant sunflowers that we planted much later, to replace the ones we lost in the original planting.

The survivors of our first planting are doing pretty good, I think!

Most of them are approaching 5 feet in height, now. Once they got higher than a couple of feet, the deer seemed to ignore them. One of the last ones that got its top chomped off is surviving quite well, and is growing a new “head” from the side of the main stalk. I have high hopes that the most recently decapitated sunflower will do fine and grow a new head, though being one of the variety planted the latest, chances are it won’t have long enough of a growing season to fully mature. We shall see.

I’m just really impressed with how big the pattypan squash plants are getting! They are also filled with buds and blossoms, and little baby squashes. None of the others are even close. There’s a good possibility these will be the only squash that actually produce this year. Which is okay. This year is our experimental year. Anything we get is bonus, and we’re learning a lot.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the potatoes. They actually look rather sparse, as far as foliage goes, but some have started to bloom, so we can definitely look forward to having our own potatoes this year. Whether or not we use the same method to grow them will be decided when we harvest them.

I also found a rather dramatic surprise this morning, when checking on the carrot and beet beds.

This is a chokecherry tree growing among the sour cherries that are doing so poorly. When I went past it last night, the berries were all still green!

This one is mostly by the cherry trees and a lot of other stuff that we will be taking out (the cherry tree by the house has ripening berries on it, but none of the ones in this other location). I want to make sure to keep the chokecherry tree, since it seems to be doing so well, now. Our first two summers here, this tree didn’t even bloom, so we didn’t realize what it was!

There is another chokecherry tree, in behind where the sad little Saskatoon bushes are, that also decided to bloom and produce this year. It is in an area still filled with spirea that we need to clear out.

Another surprise this year is that we have more, stronger and healthier Saskatoon bushes, hiding behind the stack of boards and junk that have Junk Pile kitten her name. (No kittens in there, this year!) They are still producing big, juicy berries. There is another chokecherry tree growing with them. It’s berries are still very green. In this location, this tree is in shade most of the time, whereas the other two get a lot of sun.

Which had me curious about the other trees we’d gathered chokecherries from, over the past two summers.

It was pretty windy when I tried to take this photo, so it’s not very clear, but you can see there are no red berries on here, yet. A few of the berries are starting to show just a bit of a blush on them. This tree has more shade, being planted so close to the maple grove and rows of spruce trees my parents added on the North side over the years. The berries on this tree ripened later than the other two I checked next, but the berries it produced were larger and juicier.

This chokecherry tree is being choked – by lilacs! It is tipped way over and hanging down. My daughters and I have been talking about what to do with this one. I’ve been thinking of cutting away the lilacs surrounding it, then adding some sort of support I can use to train the tree to start growing upright.

My daughter suggested we leave the lilacs, and get rid of this chokecherry! The lilac hedge serves as both a privacy and dust screen from the main road that goes by on this side of the property. It has quite a lot of traffic, for a gravel road. The reason my mother spent so many years planting and extending this hedge was partly because of just how much dust drifts in, every time a vehicle drove by. Plus, every now and then, vehicles going by would slow down to peer into our yard and garden. And not just the year we grew “konopie” from seeds my mother got from Poland, after regaling us with stories from her childhood. It turned out that konopie is Polish for hemp, but someone thought it was marijuana and stole a row and a half of it.

Anyone who tried to smoke that would probably have gotten rather ill rather than high!

Anyhow. The lilacs serve a purpose, and in that location, privacy and dust screening is more important than having chokecherries. Especially since it turns out we have so many more, elsewhere.

This chokecherry tree is also among the lilacs.

Unlike the other one, this one is growing from the inside of the hedge, instead of out from the middle of it somewhere. So it is growing straight and tall, rather than falling over. In the last couple of summers, I found that of the two among the lilacs, this one also produced better berries, and ripened sooner, than the one that’s falling over.

There is also a small chokecherry tree growing in the middle of the area I move, near where the falling over chokecherry is. It likely sowed itself, but over the years, it has been allowed to grow, rather than getting mowed over. We will likely leave that one be. In the open as it it, it will have lots of light and space to grow straight and tall, and eventually produce lots of berries.

It’s a good thing we like chokecherries. I like to eat them straight off the tree, even though they are very … astringent, I believe the word used is. Given how many trees we’ll have producing berries this year, we can expect to have lots to make things with!

The Re-Farmer

Today’s Evening Roundup

It’s barely evening, but I think I’m done for the day! 😀

We had plans to go into the city so the girls could get some shopping done that we never quite get to when we do our monthly stock up. With that in mind, I started my morning routine early, starting with visiting the kittens.

Beep Beep dashed up the stairs when I opened the door to the basement, so I let her be and made sure no other cats came down. This way, the babies got to have the wet cat food, without having to fight over it with their mom! 😀

Except for Saffron, who was much more interested in me…

I think they did leave some behind for Beep Beep, when she finally came down. 😀

Doing my rounds outside is getting so gorgeous right now!

I noticed that the cherry tree by the house is blooming now.

Just the cherry trees by the house. The ones near the new garden plot are not blooming yet. Both areas get the same amount of light and rain. The only difference is the micro-climate created by the house itself.

I also found some surprise blooms.

When cleaning up along the south side of the spruce grove, I found a row of crab apple trees. While I still have much to do in cleaning up dead wood and thinning out the trees, what I managed to do so far, made a difference. Last summer would have been their first summer with more light and space. Like the row of crab apple trees I uncovered when cleaning up the maple grove, they had no flowers at all last year. This year, there is one tree, with one branch, that is blooming!

It should be interesting to see how things develop here over the years. I will be taking at some of these trees, and hopefully the remaining ones will have better conditions to grow and produce.

The lilacs are starting to open up, scenting the entire yard!

The chokecherries growing among them seem to be doing well this year.

I also checked the sunflowers, and even more of them are sprouting. These are the Early Russian sunflowers, which can grow 6-8 ft tall. The others are Giganteus, which can grow 10-12 ft tall. I hope to see Giganteus seedlings within a few days. The package info says it can be 10-14 days to germination.

When the girls and I headed out to the city, we had a wonderful surprise, just half a mile from home!

I pulled over and my daughter tried to zoom in on my phone as best she could, but zoom really sucks on my phone’s camera.

What you are seeing is a dozen sandhill cranes! They had been near the road when we startled them. These are really huge birds!! Seeing a dozen of them taking off at once was really something!

The drive to the city is about an hour, but along the way we made sure to stop at the medical clinic. The town our doctor is in is about 2/3rds of the way to the city. After not being able to get through yesterday, I wanted to ask about getting renewed prescriptions. Especially for my husband. Given he has the kind that requires a hand written, in triplicate, prescription that needs to be delivered to a pharmacy within 3 days of being written, I said I could come back for them after we were done in the city, rather than waiting until the doctor was off the phone with a patient.

Then it was off to the city, where we had several places to do to. Thankfully, they were not all that far apart, but not only has traffic increased substantially again, but so has construction. Most of the stores had no real restrictions or line ups. At least not the ones we needed to go to. We did drive past a few places that had long line ups outside. Even Walmart didn’t have any line ups for the cashiers, never mind outside.

I really feel for the people lining up outside in this heat we’re having right now!

Still, we got what we needed to do, done. There was some temptation to do more with “while we’re in the city anyway…”, but it was just too long, too hot and too draining! If it wasn’t necessary, we skipped it.

On the way home, we stopped at the clinic again. The doctor ended up asking me to come in to see him about the prescriptions.

It turned out that he had already faxed the refills to the pharmacy. Including my husband’s triplicate prescriptions. Because of the pandemic, they’ve waived the requirement for the pharmacy to have the physical prescriptions. Which no one told me about. They probably assumed I already knew.

My husband’s meds were ready for pick up on the 29th – a Friday – but he forgot to tell me about it until after the pharmacy was closed. So I picked them up on Saturday morning, after dropping my daughter off at work. When I picked them up, the pharmacist told me he could only fill so much, because of the need for renewals.

They must have faxed the clinic when my husband called his refills in, because the doctor faxed the renewed prescriptions …

… on the 29th.

Which means that, when the pharmacist gave me 1 week of bubble packs and told me he couldn’t do more (usually it’s 4 weeks) without a renewed prescription, they already had the renewed prescriptions come in, the day before.


Meanwhile, I’d been out of my own prescription for some time. When I went to get a refill and they couldn’t, they sent a fax to the clinic right away. I came back a couple of days later, and they still hadn’t received a returned fax.

That had gotten done on the 14th.

No one called me, so I assumed they never got a response. I’ve been without my meds for about 3 weeks. That was part of why I wanted to go in to the clinic in person, since we couldn’t get through by phone.

My doctor clarified all that for me, and even printed out copies of the prescriptions for my own records. Once we were done there, we headed to the town our pharmacy is in.

It turned out my prescription was filled and waiting in the drawer.


Thankfully, my prescription is nothing particularly urgent.

I did ask for my husband’s refills to be done, since he’ll be out in a few days. The bubble packs take more time, so I’ll be coming back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I picked up something for myself.

After helping my brother patch the shed roof, I felt okay, but by the end of the day, my right wrist started to hurt. I have no idea what I did to injure, or even if it was any one thing that did it. I was able to manage well enough yesterday; mostly, I was reminded of it as a problem when I tried to do something like turn a door nob.

I am considered left handed, because I write with my left hand. With most things, I’m ambidextrous. Some things, I’m right handed.

Like when I open door knobs.

When driving around today, it was more of an issue. Just turning the ignition to start the vehicle was painful. Turning corners, hurt.

So I now have a brace to keep me from over taxing my wrist (though I had to take it off to type) and give it a chance to heal. It’s a bit on the small side, but I got the largest size available.

My and my big, manly hands! 😀

Thankfully, I have two strong daughters who can lug things around for me.

When we unloaded the van, we also brought the pieces of tree in, since it’s supposed to rain. Getting the big one was an issue; we did have to cut one of the branches off.

So far, it hasn’t rained here, but from the looks of the weather radar, we should get at least some, though a rather large rain system has already bypassed us entirely. Some rain would be wonderful. 🙂

Meanwhile, it’s time for me to get that wrist brace back on!


The Re-Farmer


First, here is a morning smile for you!

The orange ones now have names. The bigger one is Turmeric. The tiny one is Saffron. 😀

As I write this, Beep Beep is curled up with them, but things were not so peaceful, a little while ago. I heard some strange squealing and looked over in time to see her jump out of the nest, with Nicco in her mouth, then dash over to a corner under my crafting table. There is shelf under there that’s empty, since it’s unreachable, and she was starting to move him into it. I had to move some storage bins to be able to reach Nicco and bring him out, but she tried again, later. I’m hoping I’ve dissuaded her from moving the kittens into there. Aside from this being a hard, colder, smaller space, they would eventually damage the wood of the shelf, and the carpet in front of it, as they get bigger and start pooping and peeing all over.

I now have storage bins all over my bed. With the area uncovered, it’s less tempting of a potential nest!


While doing my rounds this morning, I paused to take another look at one of the chokecherry trees among the lilacs, and consider some possibilities. Here is how the tree is growing.

It’s hard to see among the lilacs, so I put in the lines to show how the main trunk is leaning.

Here is a closer look of the base.

While I was not planning to work on the lilac hedge for some time, I am debating with myself on whether I should just go ahead and clear out around this tree. It is pretty choked out by the lilacs, so on the one hand, it would make for a healthier tree and higher yields of berries as quickly as this summer. Now would be a good time to clear it out, before the leaves are in. On the other hand, this tree is leaning so far over, I think the lilacs may be the only thing holding it upright. Whenever I do clear it, I would add a support of some kind, and start training it to grow straight again.

What do you think? Should I do it now, or stick to my original plan of doing it when we work on the lilacs a year or two from now?

The Re-Farmer

Two kinds of babies

Of course, we have the furry wormy kind.

They are quite liking the new set up. The kittens will wobble their way all over, then go back to their little bed for cuddles with Mom.

So far, it looks like all the kittens are male. There is only one, mini-BeepBeep, we haven’t been able to see.

While doing my rounds, I noticed these other babies.

This is a chokecherry. As the leaf buds unfurl, they reveal baby future berries! Those little clusters will eventually bloom and, if we have a good year, we will have lots of berries. This little tree is just sort of by itself in the middle of a grassy area on the North side of the garden. There are two more, among the lilac hedge. In the last couple of years, those ones produced berries, but this little one, not really. It looks like this year, it has reached production maturity!

The Re-Farmer

Not what I was looking for

Last summer, while going around the property with my older brother, we had gone into an area filled with rocks and blocks of concrete and all sorts of bushes growing among them. My brother remembered that there were hazelnut bushes there. We didn’t find any, but I decided to check it out again, in case something managed to grow this year.

I didn’t find any hazelnuts.

I did find other things, though!

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