Too wet, and a nice surprise

This morning, it looked like I’d be getting more of a day of rest than I wanted. I hoped to at least do some weed trimming. It rained last night again, however, and… well…

There’s just too much water. The vehicle gate into the yard is usually the first place to have water, but there’s enough that it’s backing up into the path along this garden bed. For the water to be high enough to do that, it means all behind the garage and in front of the outhouse is water. It’s also pooling in front of the low raised beds where the old wood pile used to be, though the newly transplanted ground cherries seem to be okay; the mulch seems to be absorbing the moisture and keeping them from being in a pool of water. The grass is getting so tall, most of the water is hidden, but we’ve got open water all over the inner yard. Mowing is just not going to be an option. The weed trimming I intended to do around the squash transplants isn’t going to happen. That lilac by the storage house has a pool of water under it again. Even the spirea on the opposite corner has water under them. The grapes are above the water level, at least. Checking the trellises and the trees, it looks like we lost at least 1 luffa to the wet. Interestingly, the sliver buffalo berry is handling it just fine. Even the saplings that are in pools of water are have leaf buds opening.

The mosquitoes weren’t too bad, thanks to the wind, so I was able to check the Korean Pine without being eaten alive.

I found a surprise next to one of them.

All the white flowers in this photo?

Strawberries. We’ve got a whole big patch of strawberries growing here!

In previous years, when I was able to keep a lane to the back gate mowed, this area had Black Eyed Susan, a local wildflower, growing here. I’d even see patched of daisies. But never strawberries! To suddenly see so many makes me quite happy.

Once back inside, I hoped to be able to take things a big easy, since working outside wasn’t much of an option, but of course, that didn’t happen.

My mother phoned. She’d gotten the call about the sleep test the doctor wrote her up for, but she’d forgotten about it. Thankfully, she told them she’d talked to me about whether she should do it at all first, rather than just telling them she didn’t need the test. She gave me the number and I called them back. It turns out they can send the test machine directly to my mother, and that was looing good – until it came to how it’s paid for. They take payment by credit card, and don’t send the machine out until the payment is made. My mother doesn’t have a credit card. Neither do I. There is still the option of picking it up and paying for it in person, but they need 2 days notice, so that the machine will be ready and waiting for pick up. Which I could do, but I emailed my brother first, just in case. He has a credit card and might be able to get that done and my mother can pay him back later. Whatever we work out, we’ll call them back about it.

Then I read another email from my he’s sent earlier. It was about the beg bug treatment schedule, including a date. I had no idea there was a date – and it’s the same day someone is supposed to be coming out to see my mother for a home care assessment.

So I called my mother back, updated her on the sleep test thing, then talked to her about the bed bug date. She needed to call my sister to make arrangements to stay there for a couple of nights, so that she won’t be exposed to the spray. She said others in her building just stay in the lobby, but I reminded her, she can’t do that, because of her health issues. She finally understood. So while she called my sister to make the arrangements, I had to find a number to call about changing the home care assessment appointment. The problem is, there is no public number directly to the home care department. Even with the guy that called me, the call display showed “private caller”, so there’s no number there. I tried calling the clinic to do it through them, but they must be really busy, because no one was answering the phone. Finally, I found a central number for our health region and left a message – the call went straight to voice mail – and left a message.

So now I’m basically keeping a handset handy and waiting to hear back.

I really dislike talking on the phone. 😀 Ah, well.

So I guess things being too wet to get work done outside is a bonus for today.

I’d really rather be outside, fighting mosquitoes while mowing the lawn, than waiting for more phone calls, to be honest!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: Latte corn, green bush beans, Yakteen gourds – and we’re officially done!

Yes!! It’s done! I can now officially say, we have finished spring planting and transplanting everything! Whether we do a fall planting or not, we’ll decide on later, but right now, everything that will be growing this year is in.

Not that the work is done, but the focus gets to change, and the pressure to get it all in, in time, is gone.

The first thing to get done was finish the bed for the last of the corn and beans.

It took another 3 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of soil to top of the rest of the bed. You can really see the difference between what we laid down earlier, and got rained on. I’d taken out the rest of the sod divots, but we still need to gather the rocks.

The bowl in the photo is holding some of the inoculated Latte bi-colour corn seeds. It came as a pack of 200, but that’s less than half the pack, and some went back into the bag. The corn was planted in the three rows in the middle, that are marked off. The plan was to have bush beans on either side, but we only had enough of the Lewis green beans from last year to fill the one side.

The only other beans we had were pole beans, so we left the last row.

Also, I’ve run out of labels that won’t fade in the sun. It’s a good thing I’m using this blog as a gardening journal! 😀

Now, all that’s left here is to mulch the area with straw.

I then decided to go ahead and transplant the Yakteen gourd. The were 4 sprouts in one pot, while the other two pots still had nothing!

The largest plant went into an empty spot in a row of cantaloupe type melons (one of the grocery store melons we saved seeds from), because one of the seedlings withered and died before we could transplant them.

The two smallest seedlings were planted together. Here, they are in a pair of empty spots in one of the rows of Kaho watermelon. The seeds in those spots never germinated, so the space is being used for the gourds.

It feels so good to be all done planting!

Which meant it was time to work on other things…

One of the low raised beds did not have supports of netting yet, so I dug out the rest of the bamboo stakes in the garden shed and use the unbroken ones. This bed has all summer squash, and it not something I expect we’ll need to cover for any reason, so we just need supports to put netting around it, if we need to. Last year, the groundhogs were enjoying themselves some squash, but nothing was bothering the plants, so if we need to put netting around them, it wont be until they are quite a bit larger.

In the low raised beds with the upright supports, it didn’t have the twine strung around yet. Because of the logs, the spacing was really off. I ended up grabbing a couple of sticks, which the arrows are pointing to, to fill in the gaps.

The hoops in the background got a couple of bamboo stakes tied across the tops.

Now, all of these beds have supports on them, whether for netting or shade cloth or whatever we need.

I think we’ll take a bit of a break and let things dry up a bit. I’d still like to take the weed washer into the larger squash bed before we lay the straw mulch down.

Then we need to put the A frame supports at the two trellises beyond the bean tunnel, for the cucumbers, peas and more pole beans, as well as mulch the hulless pumpkins that got planted out there, too.

I’d be excited for the progress, but I’m just too tired. I’ve been pushing my limits a lot, lately, and it’s catching up with me. A bit of a breather, and I should be back up to snuff in no time.

She says, optimistically… 😉

On top of this, it’s been a busy phone day. My husband had a phone appointment with the doctor to talk about his lab results, and a slight change to one of his medications because of it. Then my husband made another phone appointment… for me! I was outside, weeding, when the call came, so he sent me messages to let me know, but with muddy hands, even if I get the notifications, I can’t check my phone until I’ve washed my hands. It’s a good thing I came in when I did! The appointment was to talk about my own lab results, but first I got a call from home care to talk about my mother. The guy then called my mother and booked an appointment for and assessment next week, which he has asked me to be at. Then he called me back with the appointment time – and a concern. Because of her bed bugs, he’s going to have to be wearing the appropriate PPE, but they wouldn’t consider even doing an assessment if the potential client wasn’t going to do anything about their bed bugs. My mother told him she didn’t have an appointment, because when they asked (who? when?) in her building, who had noticed bed bugs in their units, she didn’t say anything – because she didn’t want to bother anybody!

*sigh*

I explained to him what my brother had done, and that it’s being arranged by schedule. I ended up getting the name of the site manager for her town, which I was able to pass on to my brother.

Then I had my telephone appointment with the clinic, which was basically to tell me nothing has changed. I consistently have one reading that is “on the high side”, but still within normal, so they want to keep an eye on it. All because, back in 2005 or 2006, I took a short term medication with a side effect the doctor wanted to monitor for the duration. Ever since then, everyone’s misunderstood why that was on my file.

One of the other things I did was send an email to the company I ordered the shed from. I asked a couple of questions about the amount charges and what shipping company would be used. Mostly, I’m feeling the waters to see what kind of response I get. Given the time frame for when we’re supposed to receive the boxes, if I don’t get a response soon, I will assume they are not legit and cancel the order and ask for my money back. The problem is that, in looking them up, I’ve found both that they are a scam site, and that they are not the best, but not fake, either.

Ah, well. We’ll find out soon enough.

The Re-Farmer

Taking a sort of break

I just need to take a brain break for a moment. Writing this is my brain break! 😀 I have just spent the last hour or so at the local cemetery, with my mother and sister. It went well, overall, but things are always a bit stressful with my mother around.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

I actually started my day with a telephone appointment with the doctor to talk about my mother. One of the things that he will get the ball rolling on is to have the home care department call my mom for an assessment, so see what sort of help she needs, if any. They can’t do that until my mother deals with her bed bug situation, which she is still treating as a big joke. She will be getting a phone call first, though, and hopefully they will talk to her about it. The doctor had questions about my mother getting infections or rashes from the bed bugs, but there is nothing he can do beyond that; it’s all on my mother to make the call to get her place treated.

At the same time, he had the results of my bloodwork and updated my prescription. It’s handy having the same doctor as my mother! So as soon as I got off the phone with him, I called the pharmacy. My husband called in his own refills to be delivered today, so I told them they would be getting a fax with my updated prescription, and asking them to include it with the delivery. I ran out of mine months ago, but without being able to go in to do my bloodwork, I was only getting 30 day refills. Each time it ran out, the pharmacy would have to contact the clinic and wait for another 30 day refill prescription to be faxed to them, so I didn’t bother calling in anymore. When I mentioned that to the doctor, he was a bit startled and assured me I’d be getting a 90 day prescription. In 2 months, I need to get more bloodwork done to see if anything needs to be changed. Meanwhile, my husband and I will be seeing the doctor in person in a couple of days.

My sister made the trip to my mother, to bring her out to the cemetery. She tries to manage it at least once a year. We met in town to have lunch at our hamlet’s single restaurant. I left a bit earlier, before the store with the post office closed. I’m happy to say, my PAL finally came in! I can now legally buy non-restricted guns and ammunition. Not that we have the money for it right now, but at least it’s an option.

So we had a nice lunch, and I let my mother know about the call she could expect from home care, but mentioned that they can’t come out until she gets the bed bug situation dealt with. She just smirked about that. I don’t know how to get through to her about her need to do this! Otherwise, her behaviour was pretty good, up until we were getting ready to leave, and she called the two staff over and started telling them to take away the “ugly” picture on the wall. There are paintings and photos from local artists for sale on the walls, and this one happened to be a portrait type painting of an old First Nations man, with slightly disheveled hair. She said a few tactless and somewhat racist things – things she gets away with, simply because of her age! My sister and I still called her out on it, so that didn’t last too long, at least. The staff handled it well, at least.

After lunch, I transferred some framed pictures my mother asked me to get out of storage – I’m glad I was able to find them at all! – into my sister’s car, then we headed to the cemetery.

It’s a very tiny cemetery connected with a church that has been closed for years now. It’s off the beaten path and tucked away among the trees. A very lovely spot. It was a bit of a surprise to see vehicles already there, including one I recognized.

It turns out our vandal had volunteered to cut the grass, and was doing it today.

He’d already used the weed trimmer around the half of the cemetery we needed to go into. When he realized I was there, he quickly packed up and left, in compliance with the restraining order. Meanwhile, my mother was there, calling out to him to come over. *sigh* I tried to explain to her that he couldn’t, and not to get him in trouble, but I don’t think she understood. Or maybe just didn’t care.

Since the grass had just been trimmed, it was all over the graves and stones, and he hadn’t had a chance to put things back. So I got a snow brush out of the van and started sweeping around the family graves.

There’s quite a few of them.

My sister, meanwhile, had brought a brush to scrub away the bird droppings, and water and rags to clean off the stones. They’d also brought a whole bunch of artificial flowers, so once everything was cleaned up and decorations returned, we set flowers out as my mother directed. She kept getting mad at us when we would ask her if she liked a particular colour grouping of flowers, but hadn’t finished setting them in place yet, because we hadn’t set them in place yet. !!

It took a while.

Then, after she said some prayers, she wanted my sister to get pictures of her by the freshly cleaned up and decorated family graves.

That was my cue to go. I suggested to my sister that she text our vandal before they left, to let him know I was gone and he could come back and finish what he was doing.

The whole thing went over pretty well, as far as such things go, but I’m mentally exhausted. It’s also the hottest part of the day, now, so I lost my productive time in the garden. I just talked to my daughters about it, and we’ve decided I need to have a “day off” from the garden. I’ve been pushing myself hard, and am in a lot of pain for it, so I really do need to back off a bit. My older daughter is going to do as much commission work as she can today, so she can take a day off work tomorrow. We’ll make a big push to get the last of the garden planted. Even if we don’t manage to get the A frame trellis supports in place, that can be finished after things have been planted. We just need to get the last stuff into the ground! I am just so incredibly tired right now, to the point it’s hard to think straight as I’m writing. Lack of sleep is part of the problem. It isn’t helping that Nosencrantz is determined to have access to the window ledge again, and keeps knocking out the window fan, leaving it dangling by its cord and bounding off the wall.

Usually at around 4:30am

It’s now doubly secured and, when I got home from my outing, I found it shifted out of place, but still on the ledge, so it’s working so far.

So, I think I’ll try and get some rest (and pain killer up!) today, and we’ll make the big push tomorrow.

Once the garden is in, we’ll celebrate with my younger daughter’s birthday pizza. It’ll be early, but her sister plans to get her some celebratory Taquitos and beer, cake and ice cream, closer to her actual birthday. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Long day, but the trees are in!

Oh, my goodness, what a day. And it’s not even 4pm as I start writing this!

Since I was heading to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were on the short side. It was pretty chilly out there, with rain expected, so I didn’t take the plants outside, just in case. I’m glad I didn’t, because the “light showers” we were expected to get turned into a series of downpours. :-/

A grader had made its first pass before I left, which made it easier on my mother’s car on the gravel roads, including where the water is crossing over the road again, in two places. I left early enough to put some gas in the tank of her car. That was painful. Just the other day, the prices in her town went from 188.9/L to 197.9/L One US gallon is 3.78L, and at the current exchange rate, that works out to US$5.94/gallon. Other parts of Canada are now above $2/L, so we are by no means the most expensive gas in the country.

Still, it makes for a painful fill at the pump! Most of which got used up by the time I got home again.

The visit to the doctor went all right. Medical facilities are still forced to have mandatory masks. I probably would have been okay if I just needed to go to the clinic, but I also needed to go to the lab, and they aren’t allowed to accept exemptions. Which is illegal, but that hasn’t stopped our current government from doing whatever it wanted before, and they’re not stopping now. I wore my Mingle Mask. One of the receptionists – who had her own mask pulled down every chance she could – complimented me and said she missed being able to read lips. I got my bloodwork requisition then went to the lab, and they were fine with it, too. My mother, who shouldn’t be wearing a mask either, wore hers under her nose. No one said a thing. Not even while in the examination room.

My mom was very confused when we came in to see a young woman, and thought we were taken to the wrong room. It turned out she was a student who is working with our doctor as part of her training. I’d helped my mother make a list of what she wanted to talk about, then took a picture of the list. I’m glad I did, because she didn’t bring it, though she did bring another, completely different one. By the time the student was taking my mother’s blood pressure, my mother was saying, “so… Dr. ___ didn’t want to see me, then…” The student reassured her that the doctor would be seeing her; he was just with another patient.

He did come in later, and we talked for a while longer. Then he made sure to explain to me what he wanted to change up, because there’s no way my mother would remember any of it – and might even choose to ignore. I’ll pass it on to my siblings, and between us, we should be able to get my mother to understand. It just takes a while.

That done, with a quick side trip to the lab for my mother, we headed out. I had fasted for my bloodwork, so we were going to go for lunch, but we made a quick stop at a hardware store. I picked up a box of bed bug traps. Other apartments in the building she’s in have been sprayed for bed bugs, and now we’re finding out she has them, but she cleans her bed really, really well, so she’s fine… *sigh* The more I talk to her about it, the more details she brings up, the more horrified I am. Meanwhile, she’s all proud of herself for being so thorough in cleaning her bed and mattress, and squishing so many of them… *sigh* The traps are mostly as a check to confirm, and won’t get rid of them, but it’s a step forward. She’ll have something to show. My brother and I have been really stressing that she needs to call the housing department that owns her building so her apartment can be treated, but she thinks she can handle it herself.

After picking up the trap, we had lunch – breakfast for me – then started home. I had mentioned to her that I had live trees to pick up at the post office, but suddenly she was wanting to make side trips to other towns. I said no; if we’re going to do stuff like that, we have to plan for it ahead of time. I started getting the lecture of how when I am with her, I need to make it a “holiday”, to spend just with her. By which she means, do anything and everything she wants to do. It’s not “holiday” for me at all, nor do I want it to be. I have too much work to do to lose entire days at her beck and call. At least today, it was rainy, so there’s little we can do outside right now, but those trees need to be picked up, and we need to get at them as quickly at possible, even if the holes we dug for them are too full of water to do any transplanting today.

She still got me to stop at another hardware store and pick up some soil for her, to top up her houseplants. The bags are all in outdoor garden centre displays, in the rain, which meant I got my nice white hoodie and new coat all muddy. :-/ Ah, well.

Once I got her home, I set up the traps, then went over her medications with her before finally heading to the post office, driving through a few more downpours along the way, then home.

Can you believe there are 41 trees in here? !!! I’ve got it next to the box that the highbush cranberry, sunchokes and sweet potato slips came in, for perspective.

Looking at the forecasts, we’ve got three more days where the overnight lows will be too cold to transplant any of our vegetables, but we’ll be able to work on these trees, instead. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get them all done in one day.

So much to do; so little time to do it! Especially with the weather not co-operating!

The Re-Farmer

A few surprises today, and wet, wet, wet!

Since I was wanting to go to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were cut a bit short.

That and the ground was just too wet for all of my usual checks.

It wasn’t raining quite yet, but I decided to NOT put our transplants out. With all the pots in bins and trays to water them from below, the bins already had more water in them than they probably should have, just from what rain we got yesterday. Some of them are on baking trays, which are easier to tip and drain at least some of the water out. With the bins, we’d have to remove all the pots to be able to drain it, and I would rather we didn’t knock them about too much. Especially the pots that are made to be planted directly into the soil. When they get wet, they are a lot more fragile and basically fall apart.

So today, they stay indoors.

I did remember to grab the bag with what’s left of our wood shavings to put a light mulch where the peas were planted yesterday. After switching out the memory card on the corner cam, I popped through the barbed wire fence to check on things.

The most obvious was that the “road closed, local traffic only” sign is gone.

The stand is still there. Just the sign has been removed. The stand had already been blown to the side of the road by wind, heavy as it is. I guess they’ll come back for it later. I don’t think the road has been repaired, though. I think the water levels have just finally dropped low enough.

The area in front of where the corner cam is, is where I’d sown a western wildflower mix in the fall, and I was hoping to see if anything was coming up.

I’m still not sure, but…

… we have strawberries! There are quite a few, all around. We don’t mow this area often, but I’m sure I’d have noticed strawberries if I’d seen them before, and deliberately not mown there. There were a few other things growing that didn’t look familiar, but it’s hard to say. With last year’s drought and heat waves, following even more years with lack of spring rains going back well before we moved here, it’s entirely possible that our current wet conditions mean that things that had been dormant are now finally sprouting. When I had the chance, I looked up the description for the seeds I got. It has 16 varieties native to Western Canada, but only 7 are listed.

Well, we’ll find out eventually! I’m just happy to see strawberries growing there.

I then checked out that really bad spot on the road that’s close to us. It was very muddy, and it’s getting longer, but it still looked like I could drive around it on one side. It did convince me to use our van instead of my mother’s car. Her car is lower to the ground, and I didn’t want to drag her undercarriage on some of the muddy ruts left behind by heavy trucks.

The funny thing is, I got a call from my brother later this morning. He was at work but, he knew I planned to go to my mother’s. Having driven through that spot himself just a couple of days ago, he called to recommend I take the van instead of my mother’s car, because it’s so much lower and we wouldn’t want to catch anything in the undercarriage on those ruts…

I love my brother. 😀

I also wanted to leave early enough to hit the post office first. While at the store, I picked up another bale of wood shavings and some black oil seed for the birds. Then I remembered to ask about bale twine. We’ve been using some light sisal cord for most things, but I wanted something more durable. There wasn’t any bale twine in the store, but the owner went to check in the house behind the store (I guess inventory is stored there now; the previous owner used to live there), which gave me time to load the big stuff into the van. While I did that, a Canada Post van arrived. As I went back to the counter to wait, the post master brought a package to me that had just come in, even though she hadn’t had a chance to process all the deliveries yet! That was very sweet of her.

It was also sweet of the owner to go check for me, as she came back with a pair of bale twine rolls. I hadn’t realize that size came in pairs. I’d always seen the larger ones. I asked for the smallest size; only 2800 yards. 😀

We’ll be set for a while!

The package I got was our perishable stock order from T&T Seeds, including two highbush cranberry trees. As I was writing the above, my younger daughter came by to talk about them, and now she’s outside in the rain, transplanting them!

What a sweetheart!

Once I had everything bought and paid for, it was off to my mother’s, picking up some fried pierogi for lunch (it was too early for the usual fried chicken I get as our lunch treat) on the way. My mother was already waiting for her telephone doctor’s appointment! The appointment was at 11:50. She thought it was at 10:50. When she realized we still had about an hour for the call, she dove right into those pierogi – all the while telling me she should probably stop eating pierogi, because the last time she did, that night she had severe stomach pains. Which as never happened before, but every time she has some sort of physical discomfort, she blames it on whatever food she most recently ate. :-/

Then the phone rang. The doctor called almost an hour early!

It turned out to be a fairly short call. My mother’s back is feeling much better now, though she insists the painkillers she was prescribed, have not been helping her at all. The doctor asked the expected questions about if she had twisted it, lifted something heavy, or done anything that might have triggered it. He was looking at her Xrays and couldn’t see anything that would explain the pain. The way he described it, she just has a 90 yr old back! He mentioned arthritis, but I don’t think she heard him.

Ultimately, though, he wants her to come in, in person, as it’s been a long time since she’s been to the doctor. My mother was already talking about doing exactly that. Normally, she would have to phone the clinic and talked to a receptionist to book that – though I would have been the one to actually make the call – and he did start to say that, but then changed track and simply named a date and time. It worked for us, so in a few days, I’ll be driving my mother in for that.

Hopefully, using her smaller car instead of my van, though!

Once that was booked, that was it. We were done, and much earlier than expected.

So we finished our lunch, then headed out to run errands. My mother had three places to go, and was a real trooper about climbing into our van! Especially since the van has no hand grips, like her car does. Getting out was a lot easier, but I had to insist, each time we stopped, that she wait until I brought the walker around before trying to climb out. The last stop was the grocery store, and for that I go in and get a shopping cart and bring it over for her to use as a walker, instead.

Having looked at the weather forecasts, I took advantage of being there to pick up a few little things, too, just in case I’m not able to make the rest of our stock up shopping in the city. That should be tomorrow, but we’ll see.

You know what I didn’t buy today?

Tinned meat.

Because, WOW the prices have gone up!

Cdn$4.49 is currently US$3.54 Those tins are 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces
Cdn$4.99 is $3.94 Those are 213 grams, or 7.5 ounces
Cdn$6.49 is US$5.12, for 340 grams, or 12 ounces

Small town grocery stores tend to be more expensive anyhow, but this is almost double what I last saw them at.

When my mother was almost done her own shopping, I quickly went through the till with my own stuff to get those put away in the van first. While chatting with the cashier, the increase in prices came up. He told me the prices have been going up daily! This store is affiliated with a larger franchise, so they don’t control the prices, but the whole point of being affiliated with a franchise is to be able to get inventory at lower wholesale prices, so retail prices can be lower.

Which means the wholesale prices have jumped significantly.

Thankfully, my mother only needs to buy enough for herself, and with me there to help out, she got extra in a lot of things, to stock up. She didn’t even look at the meat section, though. She’s convinced herself that meat, especially red meat, is bad, but she’ll buy deli meats or sausages instead of fresh meat. *sigh*

The main thing is that she is now stocked up for the next week or so. With her back giving her grief, she might supplement with Meals on Wheels every now and then, too.

It was raining every so slightly when I left my mother’s, but I found myself driving through several areas of heavy rain on the highway home. I’m so glad I didn’t take the transplants out this morning! The gravel roads were just soaked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more sections degraded until they were like the bad patch near our place. I messaged the family before heading out, and the girls were waiting for me at the garage with the wagon to help bring things in, since it was too muddy to drive up to the house to unload.

Just a few minutes ago, the girls came in – soaking wet! – to let me know they finished transplanting the highbush cranberry, as per the instructions that came with the trees. They planted them at the opposite end of the rows originally planned, because it has somewhat less water there, though they still had to shovel out as much water from the holes as they could. The holes they dug were mostly gravel, so the wheelbarrow of garden soil I had ready for something else was used instead of putting all the gravel back in the hole. The last of the bag of wood shavings I’d used to mulch the peas was used to mulch the cranberries. Hopefully, they will take root well enough.

It may be a couple of days before we can plant the sun chokes and sweet potato slips. The forecast says “light rain”, but it’s also supposed to be chillier than today. The sunchokes could probably handle it, but I’m not sure the sweet potato slips will. These are supposed to be a variety suited to our climate zone, but they’re still not a cool weather crop.

And we still need to get those potatoes in, but the package said not to plant them until temperatures are above 10C/50F. Looking at the 14 day trend, we won’t have overnight temperatures above that until June 7 – over a week from now! They will be under deep mulch, though, so that should protect them. I hope.

So much to get done, in a very short time, and the weather is not cooperating!

Well, we’ll do what we can. Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: peas, carrots, onions and more prep

One of things we started indoors were the four seeds we managed to save from the King Tut purple peas we tried to grow last year. All for successfully germinated, and were really needing to be either transplanted, or potted up.

Potting up didn’t make sense for these, so today, they got transplanted! Being peas, they are frost hardy, so we didn’t have to wait until after our last frost date.

I did change were they were meant to be planted. I was originally thinking of using the same pea trellis we used for them last year, but there’s just 4 of them, so we’ll save the trellises for the green peas we’ve got.

As the purple peas were already looking to climb, I decided to put them here.

This is where we grew tomatoes very successfully last year, and tomatoes will be grown here again this year. It got completely reworked in the fall.

This bed was going to get a mulch of wood shavings, too, but I also did the concrete blocks on the other side of the small gate, too.

We’ll be looking at planting some climbers in here, that can use the fence as a trellis.

The bag of wood shavings left over from last year got finished off in the long bed, and most of the new bag got used up, too! There was enough to mulch the haskaps (the male haskap is blooming!) and there’s still a bit left over.

All the mulch got watered as I laid it out, as the wind was picking up and threatening to blow it away. Once it was laid down, all the mulch got watered again, multiple times, as I worked.

Of course, the bed didn’t stay looking pretty like this for long!

This bed is going to be intensely and strategically planted! Along with the purple peas, there will be tomatoes planted all along the fence. Just inside where the tomatoes will go, there will be carrots, as they are good companion plants. On the outer edge, near the bricks, will be onions, as a critter deterrent.

In the bowl are the last of the pelleted Kyoto Red seeds from last year.

Clearing out a row to plant the carrots was a bit of a challenge, as there were sticks in with the leaf mulch that had to be removed. With pelleted seed, the carrots could be spaced as they were planted. I still got only half way down the row before running out of seeds. The other half is now planted with Napoli carrots; another pelleted variety from last year. With the Napoli, there are still a LOT of seeds left, so we have the option of tucking them around other things, too. We have 2 other new varieties that are not pelleted seed, so I will likely use cornstarch gel to help plant those.

There were not a lot of the Oneida yellow onions we started from seed to transplant, but it was still close to the half way mark. Of the onions we stared from seed, we have one tray or red onions left, but there’s quite a few of those, and I didn’t want to split them up. We also had a few shallots started from seed – a whole 7 of them survived – so I used those, and there’s still half the row left. We have shallot sets, too, so I’m thinking of using some of those to finish off the row. That will be another job for tomorrow!

As for the peas, I cut some of the plastic bottles from distilled water we have so many of, to put around the peas, to protect them from the wind. One of them blew away while I was transplanting onions. I’d tried to push it into the soil, but there turned out to be too many little sticks in the leaf litter. 😀 Once I got that fixed, I added the sticks to help keep them from blowing away. They are the sticks sold for toasting marshmallows, broken in half. We got a package for cookouts last year, but I’ve been using them as supports for some of the taller squash and gourd plants that were starting to flop around a bit. They work really well for that!

This bed now has only tomatoes to be transplanted into it, and that won’t be until after our June 2 last frost date, just to be on the safe side. We will be adding netting after the tomatoes are planted. The decorative wire garden fencing that you see in one of the photos above will be placed right up against the bricks, to hold the net away from the net, which will be attached to the top of the fence. The tomatoes and onions should be fine, but the carrots will need to be protected from critters. The net won’t stop a determined groundhog, but between that, the onions and the carrots, we hope the greedy buggers will decide they’re not worth the effort!

While I was working on this, my younger daughter was working on one of the low raised beds in the main garden area.

The girls cleaned up these beds last year, and this one was the worst for crab grass.

It still was. It took my poor daughter hours to get it done, diligently and carefully pulling up all the roots she could. Unlike me, she’s agile enough that she can kneel down on the ground to work, but she still knackered her back in the process. Once inside, she ended up having to put on her corset she made for herself, to use as a back brace just so she could sit upright at the table! She plans to continue with other beds tomorrow, and will likely just wear the darn thing from the start.

Her sister ended up helping me bring the transplants back inside after everything we done. She was up sick much of the night, but was finally feeling better. It was a bit of a juggle, since the chitting potatoes were sitting on the platform the seed trays and most of the bins sits on. Those had to go outside and onto the roof of the cats’ house until all the transplants were brought into the sun room, then we had to figure out how to fit the potatoes back in! Some ended up on the swing bench under the platform. Potato Beetle has lost his favourite bed for now. 😀

I fully expect we will expand our garden again, next year, which means starting more seeds indoors. Having at least a small, portable greenhouse is going to be increasingly a necessity! We almost got one this year, but the funds ended up being reallocated. Mind you, we still haven’t gone into the old hay loft, where my brother tells me there is the frame for a carport. If all the parts and pieces are there, we’d just need to get the plastic, and we’ll have a polytunnel. I can’t get up into the hayloft anymore – my body is too broken to clamber up there – so I’ll have to ask the girls to do it.

Well… that last paragraph got quite the interruption. I hadn’t realized my mother had phoned and left a message while we were working outside. She called again. It seems the painkillers the doctor prescribed for her back pain are not helping at all, and she’s in a lot of pain. Can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t lie down… She’s convinced the doctor gave her the wrong medication. She called the pharmacist, and he assured her she got the right meds. I guess she now thinks the prescription was a mistake? So tomorrow morning, when the clinic is open, I’ll give them a call. Hopefully, either her doctor, or the doctor that saw her in the ER, will be available to call her today and talk to her about it.

My husband is feeling very sympathetic for her. She’s entering his world, and is completely unprepared for it.

My plans for tomorrow may be changing, if I find myself having to drive my mother somewhere!

The Re-Farmer

Cat pile, progress and update

There are two cats in this photo.

Cheddar slowly managed to squirm his way under the sheet, little by little, until he was completely covered!

Meanwhile, we had a whole pile of cats, chillin’ on the front step.

There were also several inside cats at the storm door, sometimes sticking a leg through the window to bat at a cat outside! 😀

Yes, we’re still draining out washing machine out the door. Partly because none of us have the time to sit and supervise the machine if we put the hose into the drain pipe, just in case it starts backing up again (which it shouldn’t, but still…), but also because we’ve got enough water flowing into the septic tank and triggering the pump to drain, just from the water seeping into the north side of the old basement, and the weeping tile under the new basement, both going through the same floor drain. This area of the yard is high enough that none of the water is accumulating, so we’re not adding to the much problems, either.

It was a lovely, warm evening, so I popped out to do a bit of set up in the old kitchen garden… which promptly got catted!

I set out the line to support the netting that will go up after it’s planted. I’ve done similar with the L shaped bed, too. I had several cats very interested in the entire proceedings! Then, once I was done, Nutmeg went under the lines and tried rubbing up on practically ever one of them!

The lines will be in the way while seeding the bed, but this way I’ll be able to cover the bed right away, without giving cats a chance to walk all over it, or use it as a litter box, before it’s covered! 😀

On a completely different subject, my brother was able to update me on how things went with my mother at the ER. Based on how she described the pain, he was thinking her kidneys might be the issue, but when she talked to the doctor, she described it differently. They did do blood and urine tests, but when she described the pain as feeling like she was being stabbed in the back, on one side, the doctor sent her for Xrays right away.

The funny thing about my brother describing what happened, I actually recognized the doctor. He didn’t remember the name, but when he looked up the photo he took of my mother’s new prescription, it confirmed I was right. There have been times when I took my mother into the ER and this doctor had seen her. My mother was in good hands. 🙂

The staff was running ragged, and all the examination rooms were full, but with my mother’s pain levels, they got her in quickly. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to take her in, though, as they made them wear masks. Since I can’t, I would have been told to leave.

Long story short, my mother has a compacted disc. She actually has quite a bit of damage to her spine, but this was new damage. The doctor kept asking if she’d maybe lifted something heavy, or twisted something, but she couldn’t think of anything. Most likely, this is just new damage related to her refusal to wear her leg brace. She keeps complaining about the pain in her knees, and one knee bends inwards, but she simply will not wear the brace. My brother even tried getting her a new brace that would be more comfortable for her, but she just won’t do it. Instead, she wears those stretchy knee pads, like athletes sometimes wear. They feel snug and warm, so she thinks they help more than the brace.

There is nothing that can be done about her back, though. My brother even made a point of asking the doctor about possible surgery, just to make sure my mother heard the answer, and no. Surgery is not an option. What he did do was give her a prescription for anti-inflammatory painkillers, and before they left, she got an anti-inflammatory injection.

I haven’t called her again today. After so many hours dealing with everything, I knew she would be tired, so I’ll call her tomorrow. My poor brother was more mentally than physically exhausted. When helping my mother with her appointments, a lot of energy is spent explaining things she couldn’t understand, or asking her lots of questions to try and drag out information from her that is relevant. Or just keeping her on topic. She has a terrible habit of wasting time asking people personal information that’s none of her business, when she should be focusing on the reason she’s there. It gets very draining.

One thing my brother did try to make my mother aware of is that the pain she was feeling right then, was the sort of pain my husband feels constantly. For him, it’s actually a lot more, since he has multiple problems all in the same area, with a crumbling spine being just one thing – and not even the worst source of pain. My mother has had difficulty having any sort of empathy or understanding, because he’s “too young” to be having problems like this. He was hoping it would help her feel some sort of compassion for my husband. It probably won’t make a difference. After all, she still complains about how she’s taking “so many pills” every day, without quite understanding that she doesn’t actually have a lot of prescriptions for her age; she’s just taking some of them twice a day. So in her mind, each one of those pills is a different medication. I’ve told her how many prescriptions my husband is on – some of which are taken 3 times a day, others “as needed”, plus his injections, but it’s not about her, so she doesn’t get it. Ah, well. All we can do is try.

So my mom now needs to take these anti-inflammatory painkillers for a couple of weeks, but we have nothing about after that. I’ll have to make a regular doctor’s appointment for her – the clinic is in the same hospital, but I know I’ll be able to go in with her there. Something else to talk about when I call her, tomorrow.

We’ll figure it out.

The Re-Farmer

Ups and Downs

Today is looking like it’s going to be a gorgeous day! We finally have some sunshine and warmth, and while it’s still muddy out there, the water levels continue to go down. Even the water seeping into the old basement is somewhat better.

There was a whole crowd of cats waiting for my by the sunroom door, eager for breakfast. A lot of the ‘iccuses are hanging out. Still no sign of Chaddiccus, though – the only one of them that we could actually pet. Agnoos and Tuxedo Mask are still missing, too. Still, I saw a dozen cats in total, this morning.

It was nice enough that I brought the transplants out earlier, too.

I managed to get a slightly better picture of the developing Wonderberries.

On the down side, it looks like my mother will be going to the ER today. She’s been complaining of back pain for a while now, but it was really bad last night. My brother was planning to come out to join her in church and visit her after, but planned to take her to the hospital instead.

Oh, now that’s timing. I just got a message from him. They’re at the ER now, and she’s waiting to get her kidneys checked. From how she describes her pain, that seems the most likely cause.

We did talk about my driving her to the hospital and him meeting us there, but he decided he would do it all. Which is probably just as well. Since we are still under restrictions at the federal level, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to go in with her. Hospitals as still demanding people be masked, even though provincial restrictions are lifted, and in spite of all the evidence and data out there that shows it’s not only unnecessary, but harmful. My mother shouldn’t be wearing one, but she does, anyhow, because she’s been bullied into it. The way things are now, she would probably be sent home from the ER if she wasn’t masked and jabbed, as so many others already have been, all over the province. A lot of places responded to the provincial mandates being dropped by doubling down on the restrictions, instead.

Even aside from that, it’s probably just as well I didn’t try to drive my mother. I was awakened quite early today with a sort of headache. The kind that feels like it’s from eye strain. The weird part was that it hurt more if my eyes were closed then when they were open, so getting back to sleep wasn’t going to happen. Driving would probably have not been a good thing for me to be doing.

With the day being so nice, we might be able to get the fire pit going to have a wiener roast, and even finally use the new cast iron Dutch oven for the first time. I hope to be able to get more garden beds prepped, too. The weather forecast is now saying heat and possible thundershowers in a couple of days, then it’s supposed to cool down again, but we should still be able to get the cool weather seeds in. The garden beds we prepped in the fall have crab grass and weeds that made their way through, so I want to get those out before we start seeding, as much as possible.

What I would really love to be able to do, though, is close my eyes for a while. :-/

The Re-Farmer

It’s a good tired…

You know, for someone who is a hermit by nature, I’ve been out and about an awful lot lately!

Today I was out again, after an unexpected change in plans. With the roads clearing up and the days warming up, my mother was wanting to finally visit her sister in the nursing home, to see for herself how she is doing. Every time I suggested a day, though, she would defer on making a decision, and then say that she’d go any time I had the time to take her. She just wanted me to give her at least a day’s advance notice. So a few days ago, after looking at the forecast and seeing that Friday (today) was supposed to be warmer, I called to suggest Friday.

Oh, I was thinking Sunday, she tells me.

Hmm. Apparently, I was supposed to know this somehow? 😀

So we arranged for a trip on Sunday.

Then last night, while I was on my way home from visiting my friend in town, she called. It was pretty late when I got home, but I got through to her before she’d gone to bed.

She had been talking to someone in her building. They told her Friday was supposed to be a nice warm day, so she thought that might be a better day to visit her sister, instead of Sunday, and was I okay with that?

Oh, Mom.

I still had the day open, since that was the day I’d suggested to begin with, so of course, I was okay with the switch, but my goodness, that was funny.

We timed it so that she could visit in between when they would be doing lunch and supper. I used her car, of course, and left early enough to put some gas in the tank.

*sigh*

I filled the tank in our van last night. Gas was at 174.9/L It cost me almost $50 for a quarter tank. This morning, gas was up to 177.9/L My mother’s car was closer to 1/2 than 3/4 full, and she has a smaller tank than I do. It still cost almost almost $40 to fill her tank, and I didn’t even fill it all the way. The nozzle kept shutting itself off, so I kept restarting it until the pump got to what I knew would be close, and it turned out to be just a hair under full when I stopped.

Of course, with gas prices going up, the price of everything else is going to keep going up, too. 😦

We made the trip to where my aunt is, and since they still require masks and I can’t wear one (my mother shouldn’t be wearing any, either), I dropped her off with her walker and helper her in to the doors, where they had someone set up at a table. While my mom was being tended to before being allowed in, I found a place to park. We’d talked about where we were going to eat after the visit, and I’d suggested a fish and chips place instead of her usual fried chicken restaurant. She’s not doing meat on Fridays, so she agreed. I’m pretty sure the chicken place has fish and chips, too, but she would have just ordered fries if we’d gone there. It’s a tiny place and has only street parking, so after I parked my mom’s car, I quickly walked over to see how busy they were and what the parking situation was like, before heading back to the nursing home and waiting for my mom outside.

Her visit with my aunt was much shorter than expected, so I wasn’t waiting for long. We headed over to the restaurant so she could fill me in on how it went. Unfortunately my aunt, who’s 98, did not recognize my mother. She doesn’t talk anymore, and she fell asleep while my mother was there. At least my mother got to talk to the nursing staff about her sister, and left small gifts for her for later.

These visits are very hard on my mother. Still, she was glad to have finally seen her, and talk to the staff directly about how she’s doing. My mother can’t navigate their automated phone system, so I’ve been the one calling the nursing home to get updates for her which, thankfully, they are allowing. I’m not on the list of contacts for my aunt, but my mother is, and I’m someone they recognize as speaking on behalf of my mother, so they can give me information. Still, it’s not the same as my mother being able to actually see and try to talk to her sister, in person.

I told my mother that, now that the roads are clearing up and the temperatures are getting nice, she can visit her sister more often, and that I would be happy to drive her. She started saying, what’s the point? Her sister doesn’t even recognize her. I reminded her it’s been a long time since my aunt has seen her. If she visits more often, she might start recognizing my mother. Plus, at least she’s be able to see for herself how her sister was doing. My mother said she would think about it, but later on the the drive home, she brought it up again as if it was something she’s just thought of herself, and said it would be good to visit more often, now that the roads and weather are better… 😀

The place we ate at is very generous with their portions, and neither of us could finish even half of the fries, so we boxed those up. My mother didn’t want the fries, so she suggested I could give it to the cats. She’d covered hers with salt and vinegar, and I didn’t think that would work, but I took them anyway. My mother took advantage of having access to a car and we went to a couple of places before I took her home. While we were doing errands, I got a message from one of my daughters with a photo.

They’d got a fire going in the fire pit and were having a wiener roast for supper! We’ve used the fire pit so rarely since we’ve moved here, due to fire bans and drought conditions, so I was really happy that they did that.

By the time I was driving my mother home, I was so very tired. Being around people too much just sucks the energy out of me, and with all the other errands we’ve been running in just the past week, I was pretty wiped out. I think I was even more tired than my 90 yr old mother! 😀 So I didn’t stay long after putting her groceries away. It’s a good thing I left when I did, because it was starting to rain! It was mostly done by the time I got home, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be driving on those roads any later in the day.

My daughters were still doing their cookout when I got home! They had the hardest time keeping the fire going, even with having access to dry wood.

The rain starting certainly didn’t help, but it didn’t rain enough to have to end their cookout, and it stopped shortly after I got back. I joined them for a while. It felt so good to be sitting at a fire like that, even with the mud all around the fire pit.

Then, since I had all those fries, the girls brought out cast iron pan to reheat them on the fire grill. I’m told they were quite delicious done that way! 😀

I didn’t stay out for too long, though, and left them to their cookout. I did pause to check out one of the little “lakes” that are forming in our yard!

Getting to the compost pile is going to be a bit of a challange!

We’ve got snowmelt forming a “lakes” forming all over the yard and in the paths we’ve dug right now! All that water, in between all that still-deep snow, is quite the sight!

We’re still supposed to get a bit more rain, then temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing overnight. I was going to say, I’m glad I won’t have to go anywhere for a few days, but I just remembered that we will at least need to go into town again to refill our empty water jugs. I really should have done it today, but it’s not something I could do while running errands with my mother. After that, we should have a few days “off”. I hope! At least until the middle of next week, when we’ll be dropping Turmeric off for her appointment at the vet that the Cat Lady arranged. Then, that same evening, we are now scheduled to pick up the freezer pack of beef I ordered last night. I chose their large “rancher” variety pack. The only item in the pack I know for sure will be in it is ground beef. I’m quite content with “surprise” packs, because we sometimes end up with cuts we normally wouldn’t think to get, usually due to the price/pound. Because it’s in a bulk pack, the price is by the pound for the whole thing, not for individual cuts, so we end up with a better price – and higher end cuts!

It’ll definitely be worth the extra running around.

Still, it all leaves me feeling so very tired. At least it’s a good tired, though!

The Re-Farmer

Catching up

With things going a bit crazy for the past few days, then being able to spend the day with a friend, I’ve been a bit behind on my usual computer stuff.

The kitties were very happy to see me this morning. I spotted a dozen of them this morning. Their trays in the kibble house had been knocked about; my husband tells me that, from the sound and smell at about 4 am (he had a sleepless night, unfortunately), there was a run-in with a skunk. Even the sun room had been ransacked a bit, again. It will be good when we can close those doors up again, which we should be able to start doing soon, now that it’s supposed to get warmer.

Going through over 300 files from just the one trail cam, then making a video using all those deer images, took a lot longer than it should have. Partly because I don’t have very good video editing software. The “easy” software that came with my computer suddenly needs a driver update and wouldn’t let me export all the work I did. I didn’t have the time nor inclination to search out and download the driver, so I used some old movie making software I have. It allows me to do a lot more, but the “new” version of the software I got was so much less intuitive, and useful than the first version I bought, not to mention a massive resource hog, I never updated it again and hardly ever use it. I’m told there are others that are better, but I just haven’t been up to searching for something that meets my needs.

Still, it was enough to get the video made. Setting it to export into an uploadable file gave me enough time to make supper. :-/

This evening, I finally sat down to go through the email notifications for the blogs I follow, and even find a few direct emails and notifications, including donation notifications to the fundraiser for the Cat Lady (thank you!).

It took several hours to catch up. Granted, I did leave the computer a few times to do other things, but I did finally get it done. I even managed to get it done before 11pm! 😉

As I write this, it’s now just past 11pm, and we have continued to warm up to -2C/28F. Considerably warmer than this morning! Or even this afternoon.

We’re supposed to drop down a degree overnight, but tomorrow we’re supposed to reach a high of 1C/34F We’re also supposed to get a bit of snow, but that forecast changed from an expected 5-10cm/2-4 inches, to 1-3cm/<1/2 – 1 inch, in total, through tonight and into tomorrow.

If all goes well, we should be able to make our big, monthly shopping trip to the city tomorrow, and stock up again.

Thankfully, my brother made the 1 1/2 hour trip on Sunday to visit our mother, early enough to go to church with her. He was able to help her do her grocery shopping and other errands. Normally, I would have, but with the septic issues we were having, I lost complete track of how long it had been since I last helped her with her groceries. Usually, I would have phoned to ask when she needed me to come over, but that was when we found the mess in the basement and started having to get the snow cleared and the septic guy in. I called her today and mentioned it, as why I hadn’t called about her shopping earlier. She told me she had thought we would do the errands on the day I took her to visit her sister in the nursing home, now that they are allowing visits without appointments again.

Which was a bit of a surprise to me, since when we last talked about it, she had said it could wait until the weather improved again, and we would talk about it later. There was no other timeline discussed.

She was also remarkably incurious about the septic issues we had. Also a bit odd, since such conversations usually involve her going over everything I did wrong and telling me how I should have done it, or telling me I should have gotten my brother to take care of it, and how sad it is that I “don’t have a man in the house” to take care of such things for me. I guess my husband being disabled means he stopped being a man. :-/ So I suppose it was a good thing that she didn’t care that we had to deal with septic backing into our basement for the third time in four years! Still, it was very unusual for her.

She did, however, find the time to chastise me for growing potatoes in bags last year, because that was something to maybe do in the city, but it was just stupid to do that out on the farm.

I don’t think she knows that I know about the very, very stupid thing we found out she did that hurt my brother so badly. But then, she still doesn’t realize that what she did was in any way wrong. My poor brother is still trying to fix the damage. It keeps him up at night from the stress. He’s told her that, and she’s completely oblivious.

My brother is such a saint.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am so incredibly glad he owns the property now. I’m also glad that our living here does relieve him of some of the stress and worry about keeping the place from from falling apart – and our vandal from stripping it bare even more that he already had. It’s very much a “win-win” arrangement we have with him, and he is a much better “landlord” than my mother was!

We have much to be thankful for, when it comes to living out here. Even if we do have to deal with unfortunate things coming up the drain in the basement, every now and then!

The Re-Farmer