When doing my rounds, one of the things I’ve been making sure to check is for damage to the berry bushes we plants. Especially that one highbush cranberry that has been eaten, twice. Putting the old saw horse over it seems to be helping, and there are even the tiniest of green leaves appearing again. We’ve had a pretty constant and gentle rain since yesterday evening, so that is sure to be helping as well.
This morning, I found this.
Overnight, the self-seeded sunflowers had almost all their leaves eaten. The green beans also had a lot of their leaves eaten, along the length of about half the trellis. The pods got left, though. We have stopped harvesting the beans, though we could probably still be picking the green ones. They are still blooming and producing new pods, though in much reduced quantities.
Two of the self seeded (well… bird seeded…) sunflowers by the sweet corn also got et. There is no new damage to the corn, though. It doesn’t look like the deer went into the bed. Just munched the sunflowers at the edge.
I’m not sure if this is deer damage, or some small critter. One of the sweet potato bags got torn apart more, and the grass mulch turned over, which isn’t too unexpected. The bottle waterer in the black grow bag being knocked out is a bit of a surprise. Nothing else in that bag was disturbed.
Happily, the eggplants were completely undisturbed. I put everything back, including the mulch, and in the process found that the sweet potato vine that got pulled aside seemed undamaged, too.
I checked everything else closely, and nothing else seems damaged. I did, however, decide it was time to harvest the ripe squash and pumpkins, just in case. Except the giant pumpkins. We could harvest both of those, but I’ll come by with the wagon to carry them to the house, another time.
There is the one Kakai hulless pumpkin and three Baby Pam pumpkins. Both have more green ones on the vines that I hope will get time to ripen fully. I also harvested seven Red Kuri squash, leaving one to ripen a bit longer on the vine. These are all now set up in the kitchen to cure.
With all the other squash I looked at, I’m rather impressed with the Boston Marrow. We will still likely get only two that can be harvested – one of which is starting to turn colour – but I’m seeing a surprising number of little ones developing, plus more female flowers. It looks like they would have been very prolific, had we not had such a terrible spring. Definitely something to try again next year.
The Baby Pam pumpkins are supposed to be an excellent pie pumpkin, but with just these three little ones, there isn’t enough to make one! We’ll find some other way to enjoy them. I do look forward to trying the seeds in that Kakai pumpkin. We already know we like the Red Kuri squash, and I promised one of those to my mother. I think next year, we should plant more of them.
I’m thankful that we at least have these to harvest. We planted so many more that just didn’t make it. Hopefully, we’ll have better growing conditions next year!
I checked my weather app last night, and read that we were to get rain and thunderstorms this morning.
This morning, I checked the app and it told me “rain will end in 45 minutes”.
There was no rain.
We’re going to have to water the garden today.
Which is not a complaint. We have a garden to water, still! Though the evenings have been chillier than forecast, we’re still frost free.
While checking all the garden beds, I spotted some deer damage in the sweet corn.
The silks were nibbled off!
It looks like a deer ducked under the rope fence (so much for the bells and whirligigs to startle them!), walked along one side of the corn, nibbling the silks all along the way.
I did find one cob that had been pulled off and left on the ground.
I’d been able to check the other nibbled ones, but with this one I could peel it entirely. They are still not ripe. I think the cool evenings are slowing things down.
We’re supposed to have highs between 17C/63F (today) and 14C/57F (in a couple days) over the next while, before temperatures rise above 20C/68F again. We’re supposed to stay above 20C for several days before dropping to the mid teens again. One of my apps has a 28 day long range forecast, and according to that, we won’t hit overnight temperatures low enough for a frost risk until almost a week into October.
Every mild day is bonus right now, and allowing our garden to continue to produce.
I love those G Star patty pans!
The onions are from the curing table for today’s cooking, but the rest is fresh picked. The Yellow Pear are filled with ripening tomatoes – much more than the Chocolate cherry. We have to figure out what to do with them all.
A couple of Sophie’s Choice tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I will use those to save seeds. The paste tomatoes went into the freezer for later processing.
As I write this, my older daughter is in the kitchen, trying to use up a whole lot of vegetables for lunch, to go with the short ribs that were in the slow cooker all night. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with! 😊
My daughters were finally able to finish raking up grass clippings from a couple days ago and bring them to the squash and corn patch for me. My older daughter still isn’t feeling very well, but she is much improved, at least, and can be more active again.
While they did that, I did my morning rounds and checked on things. My first find was a disappointment.
The deer chomped this highbush cranberry. Again! It had been recovering so well from the last time they beheaded it. The other cranberry was ignored. The silver buffalo berry and sea buckthorn are being left alone. I don’t know why they keep going after this one.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in the garden this morning. I was awakened by a crashing, early this morning, and discovered Nosencrantz had tried to get at the window again. I’ve actually had to put other screens in front of the window to protect it, because as much as I don’t mind them sitting on the window sill, I DO mind them clawing at the screen and making holes. When I had the window fan set up, they kept trying to jump on top of it and knocking it off, so they could claim the space. I took a couple of the old window screens I found in the shed and barn that we’ve been using for various things. They’re different sizes, so it took two of them to fully cover my window. They’ve got cord running across to hold them in place, but I still need to be able to slide them aside to reach the window. Which means that, if she’s determined enough. Nosencrantz can knock the screens off entirely.
Which is what woke me up.
As I was putting the screen back up, I heard the furnace shut off.
I hadn’t even noticed the furnace was on. Why did the furnace turn on???
Well, it turns out that, instead of the overnight low of 11C/52F that was forecast, the actual temperature at the time was 5C/41F. The girls had their windows open – it was finally bearable up there for them! – but with the way air circulated in this house, that resulted in a cold wind blowing down the stairs.
I have since turned the thermostat down further.
This is where looking at the long range forecast frustrates me. According to those, we weren’t supposed to have overnight lows like that until the end of September. Our average first frost date is Sept. 10, which is Friday. Over the next while, we’re supposed to go up to 28C/82F with a low of 15C/59F on Thursday, then drop to 16C/61F with a low of 4C/36F on Friday, then warm back up again.
Which would be okay, if that actually happened, but if our overnight low was less than half of what was forecast, how can I trust we won’t get frost temperatures?
Well, we can just hope.
The baby eggplant is getting bigger, but looked like it was about to break off its stem, so I dug out the last of the tomato cages I bought this spring and set it up.
Remarkably, there are tiny little peppers forming! They are supposed to turn purple when fully ripe, but I doubt there is enough growing season left for that.
Oh, I forgot to mention. My daughters taste tested the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, and just loved them. They are very flavourful. The red tomatoes are very mild flavoured. The yellow pear have more flavour, but not compared to the other cherry and grape tomatoes we grew last year. So we won’t grow the yellow pear tomatoes again, but will be saving seed from the Chocolate Cherry. We got the seeds from Veseys, but they don’t seem to carry them anymore. From what I can find, though, they are an open pollinated, heirloom variety, so saving the seeds should give us the same variety. I did find some sites listing them as a hybrid, though, so perhaps there are more varieties with the same name. No matter. We will give it a try!
The girls got a nice big pile of grass clippings gathered for me. This is just from the south yards, which I cut a couple of days ago, so the clippings had time to dry in the sun a bit.
It was enough to finish mulching either side of the sweet corn, around the green bush beans, and most of the space between the corn. I did have to rake up more grass clippings from the north yard where I mowed yesterday to finish the job. The grass in the west yard is so sparse, there are no clippings worth raking up.
At this point, the amending that’s being done here is more for next year. We will be moving the trellises closer to the house next year, and these might be good places to put them. I don’t know when I’ll be able to start taking down trees to build more high raised beds – there are only 2 that are unobstructed and can be taking down at any time. Others need to wait until the garden beds in the east yard are done, and those ones need to be cleared before yet others can be cut down.
So even if things just don’t work out and we’re not able to build any high raised beds this fall, we can still use the new beds we made for the potatoes and melons, and in this corn and squash bed, to build tunnel trellises – I’d want to build two, I think – and more basic trellises with other materials we have available. I think these might even be permanent or semi-permanent locations for trellises, so we can make the extra effort to ensure they are not wonky and wobbly, like the ones we’re using for one last year right now. Which means the more mulching and other amending we do this year, the better it will be for next year.
I’ve also been looking at the grape vines. I want to transplant them to a better location, and would love to build an arbour style trellis for them. It would be nice to make an arched style arbor over the people gate in the chain link fence, but not with those big elms above. Those are not as high on the priority list, though, so we have time to figure out what we want and where.
I’ve been eye balling some of the wood the tree guys set aside for me when they chipped our branch piles. We might be able to use some of them to make smaller, slightly raised beds in the old kitchen garden. Or even just a low wall along one side, to keep people from accidentally stepping where my daughter has planted her irises and daffodils! 😁
I’m quite looking forward to figuring things out.
I just called the vet clinic again, which saved them from needing to call us later on. Leyendecker is eating, which is a good sign. They plan to take the catheter out this afternoon, and will monitor him overnight to make sure he’s peeing properly without it. We will get a call tomorrow. I asked about the bill, as my daughter will most likely transfer funds to me – my debit card has a higher purchase limit than hers does – and I wanted to give her an idea of how much. So far, we’re at about $700. With the medications he’ll be coming home with, and tonight’s overnight stay, she said the total might reach a thousand. Of course, he will need to come back for blood work to check if there is permanent damage to his kidneys. At least with that, we have the list on the form I signed, so I know that after taxes, that’ll be another $150 or so.
The main thing is, he is recovering, eating and drinking, and should soon be coming home!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guess where I found the new bird feeder, this morning?
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!
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!
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.
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.