Found it! Also, my mother’s car is very small

I had a bit of time this morning to prepare before working on the old kitchen garden. My plan had been to use the four foot length of logs left over from when the branch piles were chipped to build up the walls of garden bed, end to end, held in place by stakes. As I was doing other stuff around the spruce grove yesterday, I realized a tree top from a dead tree we’d cut down was still stuck in the cherry trees we need to get rid of (they are non-productive, and invasive), and it was nice, long and straight.

So this morning I worked on getting that out, then went through the spruce grove to see if there were other dead trees that were already on the ground I could make use of. That was then I spotted something red among the dead grasses.

Look what I found!

These are the bird feeder parts that disappeared, a year and a half or so ago!

This was about 40 yards away from where it had been hanging. No wonder I couldn’t find it back then! I guess it really was the racoons that stole it away.

The cannister was still intact, but the rest was broken into many pieces, which got cleaned up.

I did manage to find more useable trees that I dragged closer to the old kitchen garden, and then I headed out to see my mother. I left early because I wanted to go to the pharmacy first, then grabbed some fried chicken and wedges for lunch. My mother has told me not to, in the past, because she decided the chicken was making her sick, but she had no complaints at all when I showed up with it! The other choices weren’t open today, or opening later, so there wasn’t much choice.

So we had lunch, then she gave me a list of the few things she needed at the grocery store and I picked those up for her. While visiting longer after that, I discovered our vandal has been swinging by her place again, and had left more phone messages. I listened to those and recorded them with my phone. I’m concerned, because our restraining order is expiring about now. I’d hoped to not need to file to renew it. I still sometimes see him on the security cameras, just going by. He hasn’t been doing things like coming up to the gate and messing with it, or giving the finger down the driveway, nor has he done things like follow me home and yell at us from the road – but once the restraining order is expired, there’s nothing to prevent him from starting that up again. From his messages, he’s clearly still obsessed with us living here on the farm, and still portrays himself as a victim, and me as trying to put him in jail and destroy his life. Truth is, I don’t even think about him until he shows up on the camera files, or starts bothering my mom again.



After finishing up my visit with my mother, I went to the hardware store. I found some things to use to keep the frames I want to build from bowing out, and also to pull in the walls of the raised beds. The long sides are made with board that are 6′ pieces and 3′, joined by attaching them to pieces of 2×4. What I didn’t expect was for the 2×4 to start splitting lengthwise! So all three beds are bowing out, some more than others, at the joins. If I can get those pulled in and straight again, the frames I want to build will sit properly on top.

For the frames, I wanted to get 1″x2″x10′ boards, but when I got there, they only went up to 8′ long. Since these will be moved around a lot, I did not want to be cobbling the long sides together to make 9′. The next option was 1″x4″x12′ I’d intended to get a dozen of the 1″x2″, but went with 10 of the larger size. After taxes, it came out to just over $80, which was more than I’d wanted to spend! But, I needed the lumber.

So I got the lumber, then drove into the yard to have it loaded into the car.

Slight problem with not using the van right now.

If I’d been able to get the 10′ size, it would have worked, but at 12′ long… well…

I folded down the front passenger seat, so they could be slide right up to the windshield, but they were still sticking out the back. They gave me a flag, but didn’t have any ties. I had to go back inside and buy a couple. The car happens to have metal loops on the sides so I could attach the longer one across the boards to secure them, but I still had to secure the hatch. The shorter tie was still too long. I went back in to try and find shorter one, but there was nothing. The hatch had a small hole I could put the hook into and that’s all there was to secure it there, so it’s not like I could use rope or something. I ended up pushing the end of the tie through the loop in the middle that the hatch locks into, shortening it a bit, and that was the best I could do.

I drove home doing only 80km/h all the way (speed limit on the highway is 100km/h), with one arm over the boards! I did pull over at one point to adjust them higher into the front of the car, and even used the flag to tie around the ends of the boards (in the photo, it runs under one board, to keep it from sliding off), just to secure them a little bit more.

The ties I got are going to stay in the car, and I’ll probably get some cord or rope to include in our emergency kit, too! That’s the red and black bag to the right of the lumber in the photo.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how these 4″ boards would be just too wide for the frames I want to build, when it finally occurred to me that I could just cut them in half, length wise!

Which means, I could have gotten away with buying only 6 of them, instead of 10.

Ah, well. It’s not like the extra will go to waste!

So that’s the plan with these. After I’m done with the old kitchen garden, and the girls have finished with the sun room, I’ll drag the table saw out of the sun room and use it to cut a few of the boards in half, length wise, to start with and then build the first frame. I think I’ll make the first one over the spinach bed. I don’t like the floating row cover sitting right on top of the soil. As light as it is, it just seems like it’ll weigh down the seedlings when they germinate. That will be my prototype, so if I need to make any changes in the plans I have in mind, I’ll do that when making a cover to replace the hoops and plastic over the carrots.

But that will have to wait.

I’m not sure if I’ll be working on the old kitchen garden tonight, anymore. It’s supposed to be warm out there – we’re at 11C/52F but the winds are still high. It’s not just about being chilly. Even with a hat on and wearing the hood on my jacket, I still got ear aches from the wind.

We shall see.

I’m hoping to be able to set up for another time lapse video of the process. I have a GorillaPod to hold the phone I’m using to record video, but it’s a smaller one, which limits what I can attach it to. There are several options, though, so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

I’ll decide whether I’ll start on it tonight or tomorrow, when I do my evening rounds and see what the conditions are like.

Now that I’ve got the lumber, though, I’m really itching to build those frames!

The Re-Farmer

Racoons, kitties, and new phone goofs

Who’s that judgey boy?

Judement is that judgey boy!

Yeah, I’m going to like the camera on this phone.

We’ve been allowing the kittens to stay in the sun room overnight, propping the doors so that they’re just barely open, since cleaning up the glass in the broken windows. The down side of that is, other critters get in, too. It used to always be skunks, but we hardly see the skunks anymore.

I think the racoons have chased them off.

After deciding to let the kittens use the sun room for the night, I put the extra kibble bags in the old kitchen, the used my husband’s walker, with the brakes on this time, to block the kibble bin into its shelf. This morning, my husband chased a racoon out of the sun room from the old kitchen, but he never actually went into the sun room. The walker looked like it was where it belonged and he didn’t think anything of it.

Well, they did get into things.

When I tried to open the door, I had to push away some things that had been knocked in front of it. The walker almost worked, but was half pushed aside.

The racoons had got at the bin from the side of the shelf, and did this to the lid, managing to get the bin partly off the shelf in the process.


At least the bin was already mostly empty. I’m glad I didn’t refill it instead of putting the bags away.

As for the kitties, they were more than happy to see me with the kibble container! We top up their kibble in the late afternoon, but not too late, because we want to feed the cats, not the racoons and skunks. This time of year, the other critters will clean out every crumb by morning.

I tried to do a heat count and I got to 28! I might have counted some twice. It took a while, but I did see the bitty baby. It was under the kibble house again. I’m concerned the racoons might have scared it – and all the other cats! – out of the cat shelter. I could just see it, but couldn’t catch it. It just exploded with spitting noises at me, and went further under the cat shelter.

While doing the rest of my rounds, I took the time to pump the tire on my mother’s car. After 4 or 5 days, it was completely flat again, but it should handle the trip into town this afternoon, though I plan to leave quite early, just in case I end up on the side of the road or something.

The good thing is, we finally got my new phone set up and activated. Last night, I’d been able to get pretty much everything I needed going, but the one thing I couldn’t get working on the phone was… the phone. The instructions were simple enough. Go online, find the mobility options and activate the new phone. Simple enough.

Except the option wasn’t there.

Now, we are on a family plan, and it’s under my husband’s name. I can log in, but it’s his account, so I don’t like to mess around with it. That’s why, after I’d settled on a couple of possible replacement phone choices, I left it to him to actually go through the final details, then order the phone.

On top of that, my phone number is technically his. When he replaced his old phone, he took that opportunity to get a new, local number and was able to find one that was almost identical to my childhood phone number. So when his new phone came in, we traded sim cards. I got the new phone number, he got the new phone. That was a couple of years ago. Then we ended up trading phones – and sim cards – more recently because of the Bluetooth problem my older phone was having that was not an issue for him.

Odd that it would be the newest phone in the household that would develop a swelling battery and need to be replaced!

Unable to activate the replacement phone, I finally turned it over to my husband so I could work on other things. It took a while, but he finally found the activation option.

Under our daughter’s phone number.

Somehow, when he went through the upgrade process to purchase the new phone, he ended up doing it under her number in the group plan, instead of what the account sees as his number.

Once he got the new device activated, I got the sim card from the phone that was being replaced, my daughter got the new sim card, and her old sim card is now in the phone that’s been replaced. So we all have the same phone numbers, but I have a new phone with an old sim card, while my daughter has a new sim card with an old phone.

The main thing, though, is that we now all have working phones!

Because the new phone can’t support an external memory card, I wasn’t able to transfer everything over from the old phone. So last night, I started transferring everything on the micro-SD card onto my external hard drive. I expected it to take a long time, but it stalled at 16% and stayed there for hours. It ended up locking up my desktop, and I had to do a hard shut down. Even after restarting it, there were issues. After much fighting, I got everything unlocked, then started going through individual folders on the card and transferring them. I knew where the problem was – my photos! I simply have too many of them on there. When I’d set it to transfer everything, it got to the photos folder, and just froze. I have them organized into folders by year, then in sub folders by month, and I’m now having to transfer each month over, individually. Even then, it still takes a while, but at least it’s not freezing my computer!

So that’s something I’m going to have to slowly work on tonight, when I can be around to monitor it. Then, once that’s backed up, I’ll do the same thing with files that did get transferred to the new phone, and see how much storage space I can free up. It’s not an issue right now, but with how many photos I take, it’ll fill up fast. Especially if I’m also taking video.

For now, however, I have a few things to get done before I have to head into town and get my mother’s car in the garage. Thankfully, we’ll be having a nice warm day today, so I will be able to walk around town and do some errands while it’s being worked on.

I’ll be so glad to have that tire fixed, and not have to rely entirely on one vehicle again!

The Re-Farmer

Morning disasters, and morning cuteness

What a rough start to the day.

But first, some cuteness.

I think we can safely assume this tortie is a Broccoli baby. I’m starting to see it slightly more often, though still not as much as Broccoli Baby! 😁

It’s hard to say, but it’s possible that Broccoli’s kittens are actually the oldest ones. I seem to recall seeing her showing up at the kibble house looking not-pregnant, before I discovered Junk Pile’s kittens in the cat’s house. The difference in ages would be less than a week, I think.

My morning started out pretty sh***y. Literally. While sitting on my bedside, I spotted something that looked wrong in an empty shelf. I have a wall that’s almost completely covered with salvaged shelfing. Parts of it has blocked by my craft table, so they shelves there are empty. The cats like to use them to sleep in, but this one shelf at floor level, we’ve had problems with Nosencrantz using it to poop in, instead of the litter box. It’s hard to see under there. When I discovered this had happened, one of my daughters had to crawl under the table to clean it up for me – I physically cannot get at it.

Well, it had happened again.

That shelf is now cleaned up and blocked off with a box. The cats have lost one of their napping places.

While my daughter worked on that, I went to head outside to do my morning rounds.

I found this.

The sun room was completely torn apart. I took this picture after picking up the kibble bin, which had been pulled right out of its shelf. Thankfully, the lid mostly stayed on and very little had spilled out. Stuff had been knocked off the shelf above the kibble bin, and it looks like something tried to get in behind the rest, as it was knocked askew. I was using kibble bags to hold garbage; one paper bag with burnable garbed in it, one plastic bag with non-burnables for the dump. Both were torn up. Buckets knocked over, and the litter box completely covered in stuff. It’s actually in the photo, on the left, but you can’t see it. Even the water bowl somehow got messed up, my mini-chainsaw, its case and charger, knocked off the archery target it was resting on, etc.

What a disaster.

With kittens running through it.

They were very excited by my cleaning up the mess!

The sun room still needs a thorough cleaning, but that will require taking most of the things in it out completely, so we can wash the concrete floor, but the weather has not been good for that.

My guess is, skunks. Either that or racoons. The down side of having the doors propped open for the kittens. Other critters can get it, too! I try to tie off the doors so that when a kitten squeezed in through one door, the line pulls the other door more closed. Then, when a kitten pushed through the second door, the door behind them gets pulled closed.

The problem is, even larger critters can often squeeze through some very small spaces. And some of the skunks are already pretty small, so it won’t take that much squeezing. The only reason I think racoons are a possibility is because of the kibble bin being knocked down, and signs that critters tried to get behind things on the shelf above. Skunks aren’t good climbers, but I think a racoon would have done more damage. Hard to know for sure. They left nothing behind for us to find and identify either way.

The fuzzy little grey tabby was okay with my working around it. Not only did it not run away, but it let me pick it up and cuddle it – and even started to purr!

Socialization progress increased!

Once I finished with the sun room, I could finally get out and do my morning rounds, before having to head out to my mother’s.

Which is when I found this.

My guess is, kittens jumped on top of one of them. With the other, they got under at one end, then perhaps panicked, and ran through the end where the mesh is rolled around a board to hold it down.

Which means we’re going to have to peg down the edges. Which makes it such a pain to get at the space to weed or harvest. Better than having the seedlings eaten by grasshoppers when they germinate. Now if I can just keep the kittens from crushing them, too!

I found that as I was finished my rounds and was almost ready to head inside, when I found this.

The kittens discovered the toy I left for Potato Beetle while he was isolated in here.

This group of kittens has pretty much moved into the sun room; the four little ones from one litter, and the two out of four older ones, that have been hanging out together for quite some time, now.

We’ve had some pretty heavy rain, off and on, for the past couple of days. There was more last night. As I was unlocking the gate to go to my mother’s, I saw evidence of just how much there had to have been, at some point.

When I mowed the sides of the driveway, grass clippings were blown over and mostly covering the gravel. Here, you can see that there was actually enough “wave” action to create ripples of dried grass clippings, all the way from under the gate (which the water tends to pool), to where the culvert runs under. The driveway starts to incline after that line.

What a way to start the day.

Beyond that, the phone appointment for my mother ended up being late. My mom and I have the same doctor, and I’ve had phone appointments with him where he called as much as an hour early, so I made sure to be there well before then. It ended up being late enough that I called the clinic to see if there was a problem. I was told he was running later and it might be a while.

He called not long after. After some confusion, it turned out he had no idea why we had this appointment. He had already called my mother to talk to her about the sleep study results.

He called her on the very day I’d made this appointment for her. The clinic had called her, but she wanted me to be there, so I called them back. He must have called later that afternoon.

My mother didn’t tell me about it, and had forgotten about it until he brought it up. Of course, I was confused. Though my mother did finally remember he had called, she couldn’t remember what he’d told her. So he explained it all to me again.


So it turns out my mother does have a form of sleep apnea – one very different from my husband’s severe obstructive sleep apnea. She’s been referred to the sleep clinic. In 6 – 8 weeks, she’ll have an appointment with a specialist, and will do and overnight sleep study at the clinic, and they will start talking treatments with her.

If my mother ends up having to use a CPAP or BiPAP, I’m not sure she’ll be able to handle it. Not so much being able to use the machine, but being willing to put up with wearing hoses on her face, and nozzles up her nose, night after night.

We will deal with that when the time comes.

The main thing is, the referral is in, and the sleep clinic will take things over about it from here on.

That done, I was able to help her with a few errands before heading home. We’re still getting rain here and there, so I will have to catch up on things tomorrow. The next couple of days should be good weather for working outside.

The Re-Farmer


While my husband and I were gone for our medical appointments, my daughter finished watering the rest of the garden beds and transplants, including the trees.

She sent use this sad photo.

One of the Korean Pine was gone! Not only was it dug up, but even the wood shaving mulch was gone! There was nothing left but a hole in the ground.

So disappointing.

When my husband and I got home, my daughter and I headed to town to see what we could find to protect the rest. My original plan had been to pick up some metal mesh garbage cans at a dollar store somewhere – it was a recommended suggestion I found when looking up how to care for the Korean Pine. Somehow, I just never found any.

The local Dollar Store was no different. They’re about half the size if the city stores, so that’s not a surprise.

I did find something else to try.

These are food covers to keep the bugs away while eating outdoors. I picked up 5 of the smaller size for each of the remaining Korean Pine. I used the last of our ground staples on a couple of the, and tent pegs in the rest, to secure them to the ground. Obviously, they won’t stop a determined critter, but they should be enough to keep away any that are not determined!

When I went to where the lost one was, I looked around the area, just in case it was just a critter digging, and that the seedling itself wasn’t eaten or dragged away. There was no sign of it, unfortunately.

With so much open water around this spring, and especially in this part of the outer yard, the mosquitoes are insane. All I could hear was the whining of clouds of mosquitoes. Since I wasn’t going to be long, I didn’t use any bug spray, so I was lunch! As you can imagine, I tried to finish up as quickly as I could. It wasn’t until after I’d covered the remaining Korean Pine and brought the support poles back to the house that I realized I’d forgotten the one by the lost pine. So I battled my way through the clouds of mosquitoes and went back to get it.

Since I was there anyhow, I looked around again. Because once you’re bitten a hundred times, what’s a few more?

I found it!

The poor little seedling was hidden in the grass, just a couple of feet away. I’d walked right past it, at least twice, while looking before!

I quickly replanted it and returned as much of the soil as I could – whatever dug the hole had certainly spread it far and wide! Then I went and grabbed one of the remaining tomato cages and filled a watering can. The tomato cage is now over the seedling, with the support post running through it for extra support, and it has been thoroughly watered.

I intended to get a picture, but I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, so I ran away as soon as I could!

Hopefully, it will survive it’s brush with whatever dug it up. My thought is it was likely a skunk, digging for grubs, and it dug there because the soil was looser.

So we are back to 6 Korean Pine… and will hopefully stay that way!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and critter damage

I headed out a bit late this morning, and this time, I had lots of kitties waiting for their kibble!

Potato Beetle and Rosencrantz were chill, but Toesencrantz did not like me being so close!

So he joined the party at the kibble house. 🙂

Altogether, I think I counted 10 cats, and saw more running towards the house as I continued my rounds.

While putting the bird seed out, I had a surprise.

It looks like a groundhog tried to dig under the steps again! That plastic had been wrapped around the mock orange to hold the branches back last year, when trying to make it so they wouldn’t dig here again. It did work – until now!

All these rocks and broken pieces of bricks had been used to fill the hole, with pieces of insulation slid between the steps and the basement wall.

Much to my surprise, when I cleared the pieces out of the hole, with the intention of putting all the smaller rocks in, I actually saw movement! I think the grog may actually have been stuck there, with the heavier pieces falling over the opening after it dug through.

In trying to fix this last year, it was a relief to find the digging did not go far. The concrete steps are hollow. In the past, cats have had their kittens under there. I am less concerned now, knowing they’re not digging deep against the basement wall. Unfortunately, they’re also digging up the roots of the mock orange. Mind you, I do want to transplant it to a better location. It’s too close to the house, and gets really dried out.

So I think this time, we will leave the grog to it’s hidey hole under the steps.

I saw another one, later, going under the old garden shed, which makes three spots with dens under them.

I did find another burrow, of a sort.

The wheelbarrow leaning on the bale had start all around it, with just a small opening leading under the barrow. This morning, it was very open, with the straw knocked down and flattened. Taking a closer look, I could see something had burrowed under the loose, fallen straw, around the rest of the bale. I don’t see any dirt, so whatever made this may have a nest deeper in the straw.

I was much more dismayed by this damage.

A bunch of tulips have been eaten!

Not all of them; mostly around one edge. Still, quite a few seem to be just gone; eaten all the way to ground level. They’re not dug up at all, which makes me think it was a deer, rather than a skunk or a racoon.

I don’t think groundhogs eat tulips.

Do they?

Anyhow, I grabbed one of the rolls of chicken wire we’d used to try and protect the Crespo squash last year and set it up as far as it could go.

There’s a second, smaller piece that I hope is long enough to cover the rest of the space. It won’t stop any digging creatures, but hopefully it will be enough of a deterrent that critters in general won’t bother, and go for easier food elsewhere.

Along with the usual morning routine, I also checked out the road conditions, which will be in my next post.

The Re-Farmer

How’d that happen?

While doing my morning rounds, I walked through the feeding station a couple of times before I noticed.

Something was missing.

The suet feeder was gone.

I spent some time walking around, trying to find it, but a dark green wire cage on mud isn’t exactly easy to see.

It wasn’t until I paused to take this photo that I spotted the basket in the background. Minus the chain. A bit more searching, and I found that, too. The white arrows in the photo show where they are. They were actually easier to see from the side like this, than from directly above!

Something yanked it down with a fair bit of force! I was able to bend it back again, though.

The feeder was almost empty last night. Whatever did this may have been after the last little bit.

In other things…

The temperatures were below freezing when I headed out this morning, with the sun room at 5C/41F. The onion and shallot seedlings seem to be fine, as much as I can tell. They’re not doing very well to start, so we’ll see. I still left the lights on for what little warmth they can give. I should find a small thermometer that I can put in the shelf to better monitor that space.

Later this afternoon, though, I glanced into the sun room, and the thermometer on the wall was reading about 25C/77F! That’s just too much, so I opened up the inner door to outside, allowing air flow through the screen on the outer door. It’s only open a few inches, but that would be enough. The lights got turned off, too, of course.

Then I chased away the skunk that was in the kibble house.


The outside cats were happy to see me this morning, as there was no kibble at all left.

Gee. I wonder what could be eating it all?




One thing about the cooler temperatures – it’s a lot less muddy around the kibble house!

I counted 14 cats in total, this morning. I’m happy to say that Ghost Baby seems to be more accepting of human presence. While I was putting food in the tray outside the kibble house, she actually came close enough that I could have reached out and touched her!

Not that I tried. Too soon for that!

Among the things on the to-do list this morning was to get the burn barrel going again. Even in the outer yard, things are less muddy. Even the “lake” around the garage had receded a bit. The moisture is actually being absorbed by the ground, which is exactly what we need.

We’re at 5C/41F as I write this, which is warmer than predicted. The “real feel” is supposedly 3C/37F, but while I was outside, chasing off the skunk, it felt a lot warmer. That side of the house is sheltered from the current wind direction. The next couple of days are supposed to get even warmer – but a week from now, we’re supposed to get a high of -5C/23F, with “isolated flurries”! We’re supposed to have highs of 0C/32F over Easter weekend.

But if I look at another weather app, which gets its data from a different station, we’re supposed to have a high of -6C/21F on Holy Saturday and -5C/23F on Easter Sunday. The 30 year historical average for Easter Sunday is 10C/50F.

But I can’t complain. The record low for Easter Sunday is -24C/-11F, set in 2014. The record high is 20C/68F, set in 2005.

We are, if nothing else, a region of extremes when it comes to temperatures!

I think I’ll take our current, moderate conditions we’re having, thankyouverymuch!

Since we’ve unplugged the sump pump, I’ve been checking the old basement regularly. It’s dry, and the sump pump reservoir’s level doesn’t seem to have changed.

We’ve had some minor plumbing issues. When I checked the floor drain, it didn’t have any water in it at all, but I ran the hose through to the septic tank, anyhow.

Or tried to.

That bottleneck was clogged again.

It took a while, but I was able to get the hose through and washed the pipe out as best I could, but we’re going to have to get a plumber back to find out what’s going on. Judging by how much of the hose is through before I hit the bottleneck, I’d say it’s located outside of the basement, between the house and the tank. At that point, it may even be different pipe. The pipe in the concrete is cast iron, but at some point, it switches to PVC. I don’t know where, though. Perhaps it is at the join, that this problem is happening?

I don’t know, but I think we’ll be running the hose through every couple of weeks, rather than once a month, as I’d originally planned.

I sometimes feel like we’re fighting a losing battle, here.


Nutmeg isn’t impressed, either.

The Re-Farmer

Twenty fuzzy butts, and what’s with the deer?

Yesterday, my daughter and I opened up the cats’ house and set up the extension cord I found that is safe to use in there. The heated water bowl had been knocked over again, by the time we got out there, which meant the cats had no liquid water available. They hovered around us the entire time we worked, then when everything was set up and the bowls refilled, they came running! They were so thirsty. I made sure to put water in all the bowls, so more could get at water at the same time.

Then I topped up the kibble trays and even more cats came running! I counted 19. Only Ghost Baby was unseen.

Not this morning!

I counted 20 furry butts this morning! All are accounted for.

Also, the heated water bowl had just an inch or two of water in it when I came out this morning, and no ice. Awesome!

I decided to leave the chimney insert where it was. The cats like to climb up and sit on it, plus the little ones can even go inside it for extra shelter, if necessary.

While doing the rest of my rounds, I noticed deer tracks all over the yards around the house. In some areas, it seems they are checking out the different crab apple, and even the plum trees. There is no fruit on any of them for the deer to find, this winter.

They are even digging into the compost pile. I would not have expected them to try and eat the potato plants in there! Do deer normally try to eat things in the nightshade family???

You can see from the tracks that they’re walking right through the half-finished low raised bed. That one was left with a trench down the middle, where we will add more compostable scraps before the bed gets finished in the spring. That’s where most of the frost damaged aloe vera plants ended up, though there are kitchen scraps in it, too. The deer are not digging in this bed, though. Just walking through it! The garlic beds, at least, are being left alone.

I had an unfortunate surprise, though. While looking at the deer tracks in the trees at the south fence along the spruce grove, I saw them going past the little cedar tree we’d found, and the remains of the mulberry tree we’d planted in the spring (only for it to get killed by that one cold night in May that is also why we had no crab apples, plums, chokecherries or Saskatoons this year). I’d asked my mother about the cedar tree, and she knew nothing about it, so I don’t know who planted it there or when, but it had clearly been there at least few years longer than we have been living here.

This year, for some reason, the deer decided to eat it. The twigs and branches are completely stripped. Not only that, but it looks like they even ate the remains of the mulberry tree! We had left it alone, so it was still in between support stakes, but the deer still managed to get at it.

Even the pile of bush bean plants in the garden that was waiting to be buried in garden plots next spring has been dug into more. There doesn’t seem to be much left at all.

We’ve had such a long, mild fall and, even with the one blizzard we’ve had, things have still been very mild and there’s not a tremendous amount of snow, by any means. This early in the winter, there is still lots of food available for the deer that is easy for them to get at. We haven’t see the deer in our yard, just their tracks, but we do see them along the roads or the occasional trial cam file, and they are still quite plump and hearty looking.

So why are they acting like they are starving? And going for things like the cedar, which they completely ignored for years?

I suppose it’s possible the cedar will still survive and regrow in the spring, but it seems so strange that they would have gone for it now.

One thing is for sure. When we finally do start planting our fruit and nut trees and berry bushes, we’re going to have to make sure they are well protected from the deer!

Also, it gives us even more incentive to plant forage trees, beyond the outer yard, so the deer will have less reason to come after trees closer to the house.

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

Well, that’s it for that one

This morning, I came out to this.


That feeder was almost completely full, as of last night.

I’m actually surprised it took until now for the hinged lid to break apart, considering how many times it’s landed upside down and open.

At least I can say the base finally held!

The screws tore right through the old wood of the feeder’s platform.

I don’t see any point in repairing it at this time, but I’ll be keeping some of the parts and pieces, should we find ourselves with the materials to build a new one.

As for the base still on the post, it’s so secure, I’m leaving it for now. Who knows. I might just make a quick platform to put on there for a simple feeder.

Frustrating, but considering the condition the feeder was in when we moved here, it really is amazing it didn’t happen earlier.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: fixing the beet bed, and last things

One of the things we’ve done to protect some of our garden beds from the groundhogs and deer was to use mosquito netting as row covers. The edges were weighed down with whatever was handy; rocks, bricks, pieces of wood… that sort of thing.

The beet bed near where the garlic had been planted has been recovering very well. So well that the greens were tall enough to pull the netting out from under the weights that were holding it in place, in spots.

More specifically, out from under this board and the rock that was weighing it down. A grog took advantage of the gap and had a bit of a snack.

There wasn’t a lot of damage. The netting still did its job.

I took advantage of the situation to do some weeding and pick the onions that had been planted around the beets as a deterrent.

The down side of adding the netting was that the onions were rather squished, as they were planted so close to the edges of the bed. A few ended up on the compost pile, but there were still a few good enough to harvest! These last onions joined the others that are curing under the canopy tent right now.

I picked the beets that had the most of their greens eaten, plus a few more while I was weeding, which left me with some greens to harvest as well.

They got to join the corn I’d picked earlier.

This is pretty much the last of the Dorinny corn. There are still a few little cobs out there. I figure I’ll just leave those, and when we clean up the beds in the fall, we might have some seeds to save for next year, perhaps.

I just wanted to share how the first Mongolian Giant sunflower to start blooming is progressing, too. 😀

Back to the beets!

They are looking a lot better for a bit of clean up! There are some pretty big ones forming in there, too. It should be interesting to see what we get when it’s time to harvest the entire bed.

Then the netting was returned. I made good use of the bag of tent pegs I found in the garage, and pegged the sides down snug along the length, but close in to the beets, so that there would still be slack over the bed, with room for the beets to continue to fill out. I rolled boards into the excess netting at the ends and tucked them close under the leaves as well, so there would be no gabs in the corners for critters to get through.

The beets in the big L shaped bed in the old kitchen garden are starting to lift their floating row cover as well. I spotted a small gap where the rocks weighing the edge down had rolled off, and there are a few nibbled on greens at the very edge. There are heavier weights on either side of the gap, so a critter the size of a ground hog isn’t getting any farther. Tomorrow, I plan to uncover the bed, give it a thorough weeding, pick some more beets, then peg the netting down like this one, so it is more secure.

The beets planted against the retaining wall in the old kitchen garden don’t have this problem. They have not really recovered from when they got eaten. I think it has more to do with low light levels. That area is more shaded by the ornamental apple trees than the rest of the old kitchen garden. I’ll be uncovering them to at least weed them, and get a better look at how they are doing in the process.

As for what was picked today, the corn was added to the summer squash and teeny tomatoes the girls had picked earlier, and roasted in foil with some olive oil, granulated garlic, salt and pepper. The beets got roasted in another foil, with some chive blossom oil, salt and pepper. That way, I could roast both at the same time, in the same pan, without the beets turning the other vegetables all purple! 😀 It turned out very well!

The Re-Farmer