Morning finds

As I write this, we are still getting weather alerts for another Colorado Low that might sweep up our way. Maybe. For now, we’re at 4C/39F, with an expected high of 6C/43F, and a small amount of rain.

We’re checking the old basement regularly, sweeping the water collecting on the north side into the drain. The big blower fan makes a difference in keeping that under control, too. The south side of the basement is seeing more damps spots, as moisture is seeping through the concrete in patches. I noticed the water level in the sump pump reservoir had gone down quite a bit, so it looks like it got triggered during the night and actually worked this time. No blockages! We’ll have to keep that in mind next fall, and insulate the pipe where it comes out of the house for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve set up a pedestal fan in the south side of the basement to help dry things out. Normally, we’d take the block of foam insulation out of the window, then switch from the winter window to the summer screen window we built, to help with air circulation, but it’s still too cold for that.

This sort of dampness in the old basement is normal; the dryness that we’ve had since moving out here is what was unusual. My brother had all sorts of things set up to help keep it under control, including having a box fan on a platform he built under the window. That fan is one of the things that disappeared before we moved in, but there is still an old dehumidifier. The reservoir for it disappeared, which is odd, because the girls had to use it upstairs when they painted. High humidity was causing the fresh paint to slough off. Somehow, when it got put back into the basement, the reservoir disappeared and we simply cannot find it. Thankfully, I discovered that the drip valve has standard threading on it. I could hook up a short hose and have it drain directly into the sump pump reservoir. Which is much more convenient than having to remember to empty the reservoir regularly! Now that it seems the sump pump is working fine, we know we can turn the dehumidifier on to help keep the basement drier, if we need to.

For now, the fans are still enough.

Then it was time to head outside and feed the critters.

There are the 11 in the photo, plus Rolando Moon was circling around for some breakfast. 🙂

While Junk Pile was busily eating, I refreshed the water bowls with warm water, then quickly shoved my phone right up against the window to try and get a photo of her babies.

There are at least 4 kittens, though I wouldn’t be surprised of there was actually 6. I’ve noticed that she moves them away from the window when she’s with them, and worried that she might move them somewhere else. However, I see that the timer is knocked down, which means the light sensor is always in shadow. The heat bulb, which you can partially see at the top, would be on all the time.

She left her babies in the warm spot while she went to get food!

For those who may be wondering, you can see part of the protective aluminum heat shield on the side. It continues up and above the ceramic heat bulb. There is also a smoke detector installed inside.

I’ve been seeing Rosencrantz around a lot, lately. She is no longer meowing at me while trying to pull me places. I suspect she has lost her litter. Even if she had moved them somewhere else, I would expect her to quickly eat and go, like Junk Pile and Ghost Baby are doing. She just hangs around, and even followed me a bit, while I was doing my rounds. There is still no way we can get into the old freezer where I think she had her litter. It’ll take a few more days of thawing out, at least, before we can move some of the stuff out of the way.

The box nest set up I’d made showed no signs of use, so I moved it out. It probably won’t be used, but I set it up against the house by the sun room window, barricaded on one side with a garbage can to ensure it can’t be moved, and pieces of rigid insulation strategically placed around and over it, so ensure no water or wind can get in. If nothing else, some cats might use it as a safe and cozy spot to sleep.

I made sure to check the old kitchen garden.

Good to see at least some of the snow is melting away. The hose end if from the sump pump, and it does indeed look like water had been pumped here. I’ve got it aimed at the straw, so the water won’t erode the soil away or get too muddy.

It’s going to be a while before we plant in here. :-/

It looks like the honeysuckle got chewed on by the deer! Just the one big stem. We’ll see if that one survives, since it wasn’t chewed all the way around.

I was able to access the old garden shed and took a peek inside. Critters can get into it, and things look rather knocked about. The old scythe is no longer hanging where I’d put it. There’s too much in the way to bother trying to reach it. The blade looks quite rusted, but we might be able to restore it.

Once things melt away in the main garden area some more, I want to dig out the black plastic tarps/landscape fabric (not sure what it started out as, originally) that we salvaged when cleaning up the old wood pile. The plan is to lay it out on the ground where we will be making new, temporary garden beds for the potatoes. Those should arrive around the end of May. The black plastic will help warm the soil up faster, while also killing most of the grass and weeds. We’ll be using straw to grow potatoes using the Ruth Stout, heavy mulching method. This time, we have the wood chipper and can put the straw through the shredder chute, first. I think that will work better than using the straw as is.

While heading up the driveway to switch out the trail cam memory card, I saw something unexpected.

A sunk disappearing under a garage door.

Not the main roll up door, which we don’t close all the way because the latches on the sides get stuck. Not the doors to where my mother’s car is parked, which has a larger gap under one of them, created by critters continually squeezing their way in and out. No. It went under one of the doors to the side where the lawn mowers and chipper are kept.

Critters have never been able to get into that side with the door closed before.

That hole in the ground wasn’t there, yesterday.

I opened the door to look, but saw no sign of the skunk. The back of the room has a lot of stuff just shoved into it to make room for the equipment we use, so it was likely somewhere in that area.

I suspect there is a nest with baby skunks in there now! I certainly wasn’t going to dig around and find out, though. 😉

I was going to just change the memory card on the driveway cam, since access to the sign cam has too much snow and water to get to it right now. Then I remembered that I could access it from the road side of the fence. Having the camera right at the fence like that is a bit of a risk, since it would be easy for anyone to reach it and steal it, however it does mean I can still get to it. With trees all along the fence line, the snow didn’t get as deep, so there is a corridor all along the fence line that can be walked on, right next to the drifted snow, and the piles left by the snow plow in the ditch. This area doesn’t accumulate any water, like on the garden side of the fence.

I look forward to seeing if the wildflower seeds I broadcast there in the fall will grow. 🙂

Speaking of growing things, I got to spend some time tending the seedlings in the sun room, too; rotating trays, watering where needed, etc. They are handling being in there pretty well. I’m a bit concerned about the kulli corn we planted. The sun room can get very warm during the day – it was about 25C/77F in there, when I got back from the city! – but drops to just above freezing at night, even with finding a way to set up a bit of heat in that corner overnight. I’m able to have the warming lamp directly under where the larger bin of seeds are, but the smaller bin is on the highest shelf, which may not be getting much warmth.

One of the first things I do in the morning is turn on the lights for the seedlings in the living room. Last night, I could just see a Yellow Pear tomato trying to sprout. 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of those today.

We need to start more seeds today. It looks like we’ll have to start using the small aquarium greenhouse for those. There’s an open shelf in the mini-greenhouse, but there aren’t any seedlings in the big aquarium greenhouse ready to be moved into it yet. We’ll be having to move the larger tomato plants currently in the mini-greenhouse to the sun room before then.

We’ll figure it out.

We kind of have to! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters

I spotted this, outside our kitchen window this morning, while getting ready to do my morning rounds.

They were after that little strip of expose ground, for something to nibble on.

With winter dragging on, they are doing a lot more digging to reach any food at all. In the foreground is the pile of grass clippings for mulch they’d uncovered. Beyond that is the unfinished low raised bed. It had a trench in the middle with kitchen waste to be buried as we finished it. The deer dug it up and have eaten most of it. Thankfully, they have no interest in the two garlic beds beyond it.

I spotted only nine outside cats at first. I have not seen Tuxedo Mask, Chaddiccus, or Agnoos for a while. The older males seem to be gone, too – no more females in heat to keep them around, I guess.

Ghost Baby did eventually show up, though, making eleven (plus Potato Beetle in the sun room, who is looking quite well after his visit with the vet).

Before finishing my rounds, I had to chase a deer away from the shrine, where it was eating kibble, even though I’d already dropped seeds down at the feeding station. Then I had to chase a skunk out of the kibble house. Once it was gone, all the outside cats converged on the kibble house again.

I was just petting Potato Beetle before going into the house when I had to go back out and shoo the deer away again!

This afternoon, we’re looking at a high of 5C/41F, with no rain or snow before tomorrow morning. We’ve got seeds to start today, but first, I’m heading out to see if I can find some big bags of cat food somewhere! I did get some seeds scarified and soaking first, so they will be ready for planting by the time I get back.

Of course, I’m adding extra to what we’re starting. 😀 I’ll explain what and why, when I post about it later today.

The Re-Farmer

Signs of spring, and an early Mother’s Day gift

I must say, the morning rounds sure are a lot messier these days! Any area that doesn’t have snow on it, is mud.

The cats are spending a lot more time on the roofs of the kibble house and shelter, the junk and wood piles, anything to be off the mud!

I spotted at least a dozen cats this morning. There are five of them crowded around that kibble tray on the ground. They’ll put up with the mud there, while I’m out and about. I didn’t see The Distinguished Guest, Sad Face, or even Creamsicle Baby, this morning.

The forecast for the next while has changed again. Predicted highs have gotten lower. We were supposed to get snow today and tomorrow – 5-10cm (about 2-4 inches) expected, as of last night. Now, they’re saying rain this evening, possibly some snow overnight, and none tomorrow.

I’m not complaining, though. This is the slow melt we need. The ground is slowly thawing and absorbing that precious moisture. It may be really messy, but I’m grateful for it.

Enough snow has melted that I can get into areas we haven’t been able to reach all winter. That gave me a chance to go into the old kitchen garden and free the top of a lilac branch that was still stuck in the snow.

The lilac is covered with leaf buds! This is the only double lilac we’ve got, and I’m happy to see it is doing well. As with all the other lilacs, it barely bloomed last year. It always amazes me, just how much damage that one cold night in May caused!

The nearby honeysuckle don’t seem to have any leaf buds yet. Those are closer to the house and in shade longer than the lilac.

While doing my rounds in the outer yard, I checked on the pump shack. A path had been shoveled to the door, but the snow slid off the metal roof, and now there’s a big pile that’s not worth digging through, as long as the cats can still get to the door. The door has a hole at the bottom that the outside cats use to get in and out. It’s gotten a lot bigger since I last checked it!

There is still a huge pile of snow in front of the pump shack, of course, but the lane cleared by the front end loader is actually starting to have green grass showing. There are also lilac bushes nearby. These ones are the common lilac, like what my mother used to make a hedge along the north fence line by the garden.

They do not have leaf buds.

At least, not anywhere the deer can reach.

Well, I guess I know why the deer were going down here, now. I did eventually see leaf buds, but they were well above my head.

Lilac is pretty hardy, though, and I expect they’ll recover and be growing new leaf buds fairly quickly.

Before heading out for my morning rounds, I checked the thermometer in the sun room, and it was just above freezing. From what I could see during the night, it seems to have stayed above freezing throughout the night, which is encouraging. The little bins with the tree seeds don’t look any different this morning; I don’t expect to see any change for at least a couple of days. Hopefully, that mold will dry up and die off, and we’ll see seedlings, but we’re not holding our breath over that.

On a completely different note, my husband, sweetheart that he is, got me an early Mother’s Day gift. It’s expected to arrive at the end of the weeks.

He’s ordered a Dutch oven set for me!
(image belongs to Amazon)

This is the Uno Casa Cast Iron Dutch oven, in the 6 quart size. (not an affiliate link) I’ve been looking for a cast iron Dutch over for a while, but haven’t been able to justify the cost. When my husband found out I wanted one, he looked up a bunch for me to check out, and I was really excited when I saw this set.

One of the key features of a Dutch oven for outdoor cooking is the lid design. They are flat with a lip around the edge to hold hot coals, so you can have heat above and below. The legs are another important feature. With many of them, the lids double as a frying pan or griddle, but this is the first time I’ve seen one where the lid has legs, too.

The final detail that sold me on this set was the lid lifter. I’ve seen them available separately, but not as a set. The reinforced tote is a nice little bonus, as is the downloadable cookbook.

This set is going to make quite a heavy package. Thankfully, my husband has Amazon Prime, so there is no shipping cost. It shipped very quickly, too!

I think this would be a great way to test it out.

I’d actually been eyeballing the Cabela’s Dutch oven, but I think this set’s design will be more useful. You’ll note, in the video, his Cabela’s Dutch oven lid is not recessed to hold coals. That’s not the one I had in my wish list, which was this one, which has the coal-holding lid. The one in my wish is a 14″ Dutch oven, which I think is larger than the one we are getting, though the description doesn’t say. A 12″ version that was recently added to their inventory is listed as 6 quarts, so I’d guess the 14″ one is an 8 quart size. The 6 quart size we are getting should be more than large enough.

I’m really excited about this!!

My husband is the best. ❤

The Re-Farmer

Giving up for now

Well, it happened again, this morning.

The new bird feeder was knocked down and emptied.

Remarkably, my quick fix using cord held, while the metal crimp at the other end gave out.

We have no way to keep it from the deer right now, so we’re giving up for now. Once the snow is gone and there is food available elsewhere, the deer stop coming to the feeding station, so we will wait before putting the feeder back up.

Which is too bad, because the birds were really happy to have it back!

We certainly expect to have issues with squirrels and raccoons getting at the hanging feeder. I never expected to have issues with deer going after it! We’ve had hanging feeders there since we brought the stand from where we found it in the maple grove to this area, and the deer had never gone for it until this year. Mind you, with the wind constantly knocking the stand down, they didn’t have to. Now the main post is buried in the ground, so that might be making the difference. That and it’s March, and there’s still lots of snow on the ground, so they’re probably getting pretty hungry.

Which reminds me.

Since we had to dig out the septic tank, we now have access to that corner of the house. The roof faces north, and is the only place we still have snow. It builds up in a corner where the old kitchen roof joins the main part of the house, where a huge ice dam forms. Most snow remains on the north facing roof of the old kitchen.

This morning, I brought over the extended pole roof shovel to see if I could break through the crust that has formed on top of all the snow, and get some of it down. It actually worked, more or less. I got a lot more down than I thought I would, though even with the pole extended as long as it could, I still couldn’t reach parts of the snow. In some places, it was because the septic tank lid itself was in the way.

Still, I got quite a lot of it down. The ice dam in the corner now has several feet of built up snow cleared away from it, so it should actually start melting faster, as it’s no longer in the shadow of the snow pile. I must say, though, walking around on that insulated tarp was its own challenge. That thing is so slippery! However, the snow I got down mostly landed on it, so when it melts, it will flow away from the house. I guess that makes one benefit for the insulated tarp that straw doesn’t have. I still think we’ll go back to covering the tank with straw, though. Much easier to access the tank with a lot of snow on the ground!

Ugh. I really should be heading into town right now, but I just don’t want to go.

Well, that didn’t take long

Guess where I found the new bird feeder, this morning?

*sigh*

On the plus side, for the most part, it wasn’t broken. There was only this…

One cable end was torn right off.

This is what it is supposed to look like.

This suggests to me that it was the deer, trying to get at the feed and pulling it down. Critters like the Racoons would knock it off the hook, not actually break the cable. They don’t have the mass or strength for it.

I did keep that in mind when I fixed it as best I could for now.

I slipped a spare hose washer over the loop. That will make it much harder to fall off the hook, whether from the wind, or because a critter is swinging off of it. This also solves the problem of the cable sliding down as I’m stretching to hang it.

You can also see what I did to the broken end of the cable. After threading it back through the various holes it needed to go through, I folded the end and tied it off with some cord. If this works, I’ll replace the cord with wire, or maybe pick up some double crimps.

The cable is noticeably shorter now but, thanks to the rubber washer, the loop no longer slides down, so it’s actually easier for short little me to reach than before. It should keep the loop on the hook, but it won’t do anything about the deer. That is a whole different problem!

The Re-Farmer

Winter’s last gasp?

Counting today, we’re expected to have three cold days before the spring-like temperatures return.

Not that it’s particularly cold – until you step out into the wind!

The outside cats barely made an appearance this morning. They were far more interested in staying out of that wind!

The wind was mostly coming from the north, which meant stepping around the house to put seed out, was like walking into a wall.

A cold wall.

The path to the sign cam was pretty much blown in.

I paused this morning to check out the deer damage to the Chokecherry and Saskatoon bushes we uncovered while clearing out the invasive spirea at the edge of the spruce grove. Cleaning things up meant they got more sunlight and actually produced fruit during their first uncrowded summer, but now the deer can get at them. All the lower twigs are nibbled away, and there are many broken branches. And by “lower twigs”, I mean basically anything under about 7 feet. The deer can reach pretty high when they stand on their hind legs!

I wonder if these deer were among those causing damage?

I didn’t see any deer when I came out this morning. They’d already left. 😀

The winds are still high and it’s quite unpleasant out there.

Rolando Moon the Wise has staked out her spot in the sun room, where it’s much warmer and cozier! Not to mention, she has her own private food and water bowls. 😀

As for today, we’ve got a big project to work on. While doing the laundry last night, I came to the entry and found water all over the floor.

It wasn’t from the washing machine. At least not directly. It’s from the drain. I’ve long had concerns about it. When the water starts to drain, you can hear it flowing, but the tone changes until the sound stops. Basically, the water is draining out of the washing machine faster than the water is flowing through the pipes, and what I’ve been hearing is the water backing up until it reaches the end of the drain hose from the washing machine, and then you can no longer heard the water flowing. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, to see if it’s at risk of overflowing, but until now it’s been fine.

I did a larger “heavy duty” load last night, and it may have been just too much water this time.

So what I want to do is see if we can clear the drain a bit. Which means we have to move the washing machine.

The washer and dryer just fit between the built-in closet and the wall the taps are in. There are two steps from the entryway into the dining room, and the bottom step is several inches in front of the washing machine. Which is handy for short little me to stand on and reach the bottom of the washing machine, but it also means we can’t simply pull the washing machine straight out. In order to move the washing machine, we have to move out the dryer.

Since we have to move the machines out, anyhow, we’re going to clean up the mess we know is back there. The cats have been knocking things down off the shelves and, from the smell of it, they’ve been peeing back there, too. It’s just so difficult to get back there, we haven’t done it, yet. I would love to find some way to keep the cats from going back there, but no practical solution has come up yet.

I am not looking forward to this particular job. I’d almost rather be working outside, in the wind!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden, and the things I found this morning

I have to admit, after yesterday’s damage, I was quite trepidatious about checking the garden beds while doing this morning’s rounds!

I was, however, greeted with a happy sight, first thing.

Potato Beetle is still here!

With him being gone for so many months, there’s no reason to assume he’s here to stay, so every day that we see him will be a gift. 🙂

The down side is, he’s been mean to the other cats. Though he used to be part of the crowd filling the kibble house since we built it last fall, he chased all the other cats away this morning. Yesterday, he went after Nutmeg for no reason, and even growled at Junk Pile cat while she was hiding under the cat shelter. I’m hoping this will settle down once he’s been back for a while.

I found an Ozark Nest Egg gourd blooming this morning. Between the density of the leaves, the chain link fence and the protective wire around them, there’s no way I can look to see if there are any female flower buds developing. Of the few I could see, they were still only male flowers. The vines are pushing their way through the chain link fence, and we should be able to start training them up the fence soon.

If they don’t get eaten, first!

More and more tomatoes are starting to change colour. Until today, the most Spoon tomatoes we’ve had ripe at the same time was only three. Plus, we have our very first ripe grape tomato, from the Mosaic Medley mix of seeds!

Alas, there was more deer damage this morning, though nothing like what we found yesterday. This time, it was the yellow beans that got nibbled on.

I was able to pick a small handful of both green and yellow beans this morning, but I am not finding anything in the purple beans. While moving aside their leaves to look, I was seeing a lot of stems, and I wonder if they’d been eaten. The purple beans have so much more foliage, it’s harder to tell, compared to the other beans.

While the sweet corn and sunflowers appeared untouched, I found an entire Dorinny corn pulled out of the ground. The plant next to it has a big chomp taken out of the cob.

The ants were all over that cob!

I also found a cob that had been torn off another plant, with nothing but a nibble off the top. Curious, I went ahead and shucked it.

It was almost completely ripe! It was so well pollinated, too.

Well, I wasn’t about to let it go to waste, so I washed it and ate it raw.

It was delicious!

However things go for the rest of the season, at least I can say I’ve tasted both the Dorinny and the Montana Morado corn this year. 😀

I had one more find that I wanted to share, but I saved the photo for last. If spiders bother you, you might want to quickly scroll on by.

Still here?

I found a garden friend among the purple bean leaves.

I had been pushing aside and turning the leaves, looking for beans underneath, so it was a real surprise to see this spider, not being startled away. Just look at the grip it’s got on that egg sac! It didn’t move at all while I got close to take the photo. Such a good mama!

When I was done, I took the leaf off and put it on the ground in between some bean plants, where it was more sheltered.

Once I was back inside, I checked the garden cam files and confirmed that yes, it was a deer that had done this morning’s damage. The only other critter that triggered the motion sensor was Potato Beetle, while he was keeping me company in the garden yesterday evening.

I have a few ideas on what to try next to keep the deer out, but I’ll need to go into to town to find the materials for it. Today is a holiday here in Canada, and there is a festival going on in town right now, so I’m going to avoid it completely. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden; NOOooo!!! *sob*

Today is supposed to be hot again, so I wanted to make sure to get the garden watered early in the day, while it was still cool. I started with the soaker hose at the squash tunnel, then went around checking the melons, squash and gourds.

I was extremely disappointed to find this.

Our one and only Teddy winter squash was gone.

Et.

Munched.

Masticated.

The two Teddy plants are blooming, and there is even a female flower developing, but that one baby squash had grown so much after the rain, I was really looking forward to watching it develop.

This is one of the nearby Little Gem winter squash. There were no developing squash down here to be eaten; those are much higher on the trellis. Still, it means energy will be going to recover from the damage, instead of into developing squash.

Thankfully, that was the only damage here. The melons and gourds had no critter damage. I did find one of the nearby Dorinny corn had been gotten into, the remains of a cob on the ground. The corn may have been a deer, but I figured the squash was a groundhog. The deer don’t go along that side of the garden beds, preferring to walk through the open areas in the middle.

I was wrong.

When I checked the garden cam, I almost missed the shadow moving in the darkness. It was a huge raccoon! So big that, if it hadn’t turned at the end of the bean bed and I could make out its tail, I would have thought it was a bear cub.

I continued checking the beds, and was so disappointed to find this.

A deer got into the Montana Morado corn. In the above photo, several stalks in the outermost row are gone.

I found corn cobs scattered on the ground, each looking like they had only a single bite taken out of them.

Hoof prints left no doubt as to what was responsible for this damage.

The deer had traipsed right through the middle of the corn block, leaving damaged plants and nipped corn cobs in its wake.

These are all the cobs I picked up off the ground.

I think it would bother me less if the deer actually ate the corn, rather than taking a bite here and a bite there. and leaving a trail of damage.

On checking the cobs, you can see that a couple of them were almost completely ripe, if poorly pollinated. When ripe, the kernels should be an even darker purple.

One cob is looking like it was going blue, instead of purple!

Several of the cobs had been beautifully pollinated, full of developing kernels.

I am so incredibly unhappy. Clearly, the flashy spinny things around the corn block are no deterrent.

Not even our purple beans escaped damage. The purple beans are lusher and bushier than the green and yellow beans – except for at this end of the row, where the leaves have been thinned out by nibbling.

And here is the beast that did the damage – nibbling on a sunflower!!!

I. Am. Not. Impressed.

I even added bells to the lines around the corn and sunflower beds, but the deer came from the other side!!

Venison is sounding very good right now.

What a disappointing way to start the day.

Other things went well, though, and I will save those for other posts!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: more firsts – and more damage!

I will start with the good stuff, first!

Like these teeny, tiny first fruits!

These are the miniscule Spoon tomatoes! Several plants are now showing baby tomatoes, and they are so tiny and green, the only reason we could see them was because we were wrapping twine around stalks to the chain link fence to support them. Only now have enough of them gotten big enough to do that.

While watering the Montana Morado corn this evening, my daughter called me over to see some new growth.

Most of these handled their transplanting well, and the larger ones almost all now show these developing spikes. I somehow didn’t expect them to show up until the corn was taller, but we’ll see.

Now for the unhappy stuff.

While watering the corn and sunflower beds, I made a point of checking more closely where I saw the deer in the trail cam. Sure enough, a couple of corn had been nibbled on. I also found some Mongolian Giant sunflowers had been nibbled on. None of the larger, transplanted ones.

Then I saw this, while watering the Dorinny corn. The surviving plants are much larger – almost as large as the transplanted Montano Morado corn. Now, we’re down even more!

Three of the largest corn plants were chomped right down. 😦

While I was watering, my daughter came over from watering the old kitchen garden to ask me if I’d harvested the lettuces.

No. No I hadn’t.

Almost every single block with lettuce in it was eaten.

It was the groundhog.

I had hoped we’d driven it away, as it doesn’t seem to be using the den we’d found, anymore. We’re still spraying water in it, and this evening I left the hose running into it long enough to flood it. Wherever it’s gone to make a new den, it didn’t go far. This afternoon, while I was putting the DSLR on its tripod back at the living room window after vacuuming, I happened to see it just outside, with what looked like a dandelion leaf in its mouth. I called the girls over and it heard me, running off behind the house. The girls went outside to chase it off, but either it was already too late, or it came back.

Interestingly, it didn’t touch the beet greens.

I am not happy.

In watching the deer on the trail cam, they seem to be just nibbling as they go by. So after I finished watering, I took some bamboo stakes and set them up around the corn and sunflower beds, then used twine to join them, and the stakes that were already there, at two heights, around three sides. I ran out of twine just as I was finishing, so only a small section has one string instead of two. It won’t stop the deer, but if they’re just passing through, it’ll sort of guide them away.

After running out of twine, I used the last of our yellow rope and strung it from one of the support posts of the squash tunnel, through the pea trellis supports, and joining it to one of the new stakes I put in around the Peaches ‘n Cream collection corn blocks. I then stole another bamboo stake and used it to put a second, higher line at the Dorinny corn.

This leaves the beds in that corner with either twine or rope along the north sides of the Dorinny corn, the pea beds and the northernmost Peaches ‘n Cream corn block, all along the east side of the corn and sunflower beds, and the south side of the southernmost corn block.

Later, we will be stringing the aluminum tart tins I picked up to flash and spin in the wind.

Once we get more twine and/or rope, we’ll put up more to guide the deer away from the garden beds.

I also want to put a barrier and distractions around the Montana Morado corn. So far, they have been untouched, but I would rather lose any of the other corn completely, then this variety.

I also moved the garden cam and hopefully it will cover more of the garden beds.

There are lots of things we can do about the deer, even though we can’t put up anything permanent, like fencing, right now. The groundhog, on the other hand, is a different issue. It can get through or under most things, and now that it’s eaten all the lettuce, there is nothing to stop it from going after the beets. Unless it just doesn’t like beets.

This critter has got to go!!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: decimated!

When doing my rounds this morning, I gathered more garlic scapes and did some weeding in the beet bed next to the garlic. They were doing very well, and I was planning on gathering some beet greens later in the day, to include in a salad or something.

This afternoon, I made a quick trip into town, then drove into the yard to unload the van. As I was unloading, something about the beet bed across the yard looked… off. So I made a point of checking it after putting the van away.

No wonder it looked off, even from a distance!

It’s been decimated.

And yes, those are deep hoof prints in the soil.

Planting the onions around the beets wasn’t enough to keep a deer out.

The crazy thing is that this happened during the day. We were indoors, but we were still moving about and near windows. The girls can see this bed from their windows upstairs, and they saw nothing. In the summer months, we never see deer in the yard. At most we see them on the trail cam going through the gate, and I haven’t even been seeing them on the garden cam at all, and even then, we only see them at night, or very early in the morning.

The beets might recover, though I’ll have to find a way to cover it again. The mosquito netting on the hoops kept blowing off. I’ll see if I can make a cover for it using the chicken wire we got for the squash tunnel. It’s a 50′ roll, so there will be more than enough to spare.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it. We’ve been hearing thunder for a while now, and my desktop weather app just popped up with a severe thunderstorm warning. Because of the thunder I was hearing, I had checked it before starting this post, and it was still saying only 60% chance of rain, so something changed in just the past few minutes! From the looks of the trees outside, I might be shutting down my computer soon!

Well, at least the weather will keep animals sheltering themselves, instead of eating our garden! It’s a good thing we planted so many beets in the old kitchen garden, too. Even if this bed doesn’t recover, we will still have lots of beets.

The Re-Farmer