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

Our 2021 garden: squash tunnel, day 4, and sacrificial spinach!

Today was set to be a scorcher, so when I did my morning rounds, I took the time to water all the garden beds before things got too hot, even though they got a thorough watering last night.

When I got to the spinach beds, I saw evidence of skulduggery!

The sacrificial spinach, at the ends of a couple of rows, were duly sacrificed.

I moved that pinwheel over from one of the beds with the wire mesh covers, after the fact. Not that they seem to be accomplishing much, anymore!

No surprise, when I finally went inside and checked the trail cams, that a deer was captured, wandering through the corn beds, on the way out of the yard. Considering that the deer did not even pause to nibble on anything, I’d say the sacrificial spinach did its job! 😉

Late this afternoon, when things were supposedly getting cooler again, the girls and I finished the squash tunnel.

Almost.

We got the cross pieces put in place, then brought over the wire mesh for the vines to climb.

The roll of wire mesh I got was 50 feet long, and that was enough to cover 3 of 4 sections. At only 4 feet wide, there are gaps at each post, but we can weave twine between the sections of wire mesh, if it’s necessary.

My original thought was to use U nails (also called staples) to attach the mesh, but we ended up only needing to attach it to the bottom cross pieces. With one, we used wire saved from a previous roll of wire mesh that had been wrapped around it to keep it from unrolling. In cutting the first length, the second length had one end with the wire ends sticking out, and we were able wrap the end around the cross piece, then just twist the wire ends around to hold it in place. Other sections were tied in place with twine.

We just need to buy another roll of this mesh, and we can finish the last section. The main thing is that the end where the luffa is growing, now has something for them to climb.

The girls also noted that one post seemed to need support, so they added the rope and peg to hold it in place.

It’s a good thing this is meant to be temporary! 😀

By the time we were done, we were totally baked and headed inside to cool down for a while. We were at “only” 25C/77F with a humidex of 28C/82F but we were also in full sun, and there was no breeze. At least we could pop into the shade of the nearby lilac hedge, every now and then.

While I was doing the evening watering, the girls brought over the last of the straw and mulched around the squash tunnel. You can see in the photo that some of the luffa was grown long enough to reach the mesh, already. Hopefully, they will soon be making their way up the side on their own.

This whole thing really is rather slipshod and wonky. I look forward to when we have our permanent raised garden beds, and can build something more solid, elsewhere. But this will do for a year, maybe even two, depending on how our plans to plant trees in this area progress. Well, Not where this tunnel is, I don’t think. There are telephone lines buried somewhere under here.

Anyhow.

I’m glad we finally got this done. At least as done as possible until we get more mesh for that last section. The forecast has changed again. Tomorrow, instead of thunderstorms, we’re expected to hit 31C/88F and maybe get some showers at some point. While I was doing the watering this evening, I used the water to make doing some hand weeding easier, and I could not believe how dry the soil was. I’d hate to think how dry it would have been if I’d decided it was damp enough this morning, and skipped the watering! The added mulch at these squash, gourds and melons will help keep their moisture better, at least. I look forward to having more mulch to add to the other beds as well.

Meanwhile, I hope we have some happy little squash, gourds and melons!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: good news, bad news

Just a quick post about what I found during my morning rounds, before I have to head out. It’s a bit of a mix!

Before I go into this morning, though, here is the progress I got last night in the new corn block.

I got about 2/3rds gone turning the sod before stopping for the night. It was past 10pm by then – the temperatures were lovely, but it was starting to get too dark! LOL I am hoping to get it done today. The corn really needs to be transplanted soon.

This is what greeted me this morning, when I came into the dining room.

Cheddar and Keith, enjoying the morning breeze while watching the birds outside. 😀 The cats just LOVE this set up.

The door is secured with cord, just in case. Although it is locked, sometimes it simply pops open on its own. Which is not a problem when the inner door is closed, but would be kitty disaster otherwise!

After feeding the outside critters, I started taking the plants out of the sun room. One of our disappointments was that one tray with 3 different gourds in it had not germinated. Still, I kept them watered, and have started to take the tray outside, too. This is what I found this morning.

A single Ozark Nest Egg gourd has sprouted!

It’s way too late in the season, but when the time comes, it’ll be transplanted out and we’ll see how it does. Who knows. We might have a long summer this year.

Also, do you see all those seeds scattered about? They are EVERYWHERE!!! And this is why I’ve developed a hate-on for the Chinese Elm trees. We’re going to be fighting these in just about every single garden bed. 😦

While checking out the furthest garden beds, I had a bit of a disappointment.

Four Mongolian Giant sunflowers in one row had their heads chopped off. The one that had been eaten and pulled up before was in the other row, which originally had 13 transplants in it. This one had 11. So of the 24 we started with, we’re down to 19. At least the direct seeded ones are coming up, so we do have more. As long as they don’t get eaten, too!

My daughter and I had moved the trail cam over to this corner, but it’s not the wide angle camera, and I wasn’t sure if it caught this area at all. In fact, I was pretty sure it didn’t. So I shifted it and it now faces down the corn and sunflower blocks only.

When I checked the files, I found I was right. This row as off frame. I never saw what ate the leaves, but I did find this!

We had a raccoon pass through! Until now, the only evidence we had of raccoons here was the tip of a tail going past the camera when it was facing the tulips. It just wandered through, sniffing at some weeds.

The raccoon would not have been responsible for the sunflowers, though. I’m sure that was a deer. There was one other night time video, but whatever triggered the motion sensor was no longer in frame by the time it started recording. If a deer had jumped the fence nearby, it could have walked right past the camera and out of frame before it started recording. That’s the down side of setting it to video. It takes more time to start recording than just taking a still shot. I’m not using still because the shortest time delay between triggers is 15 seconds, regardless of whether it’s set to still or video. That’s a long gap, and much would get missed. At least with video, there’s that 15 seconds (or up to 1 minute, if I wanted to) of video to catch what’s going on.

Finding the damaged sunflowers was a disappointment, but I wanted to end this on a more positive note.

The honeysuckle bush in the old kitchen garden is looking amazing! It’s in full bloom, and absolutely dense in foliage and flowers. When we dug up along the house and laid down blocks and bricks to make a path, much of the soil that was dug up ended up around the bases of the honeysuckle and two rose bushes nearby. Between that and the extra watering they’ve been getting this year, they’re all looking better than ever. I’m very happy with how great they are doing this year! Even the little pink rose bush that got broken by something over the winter (likely a deer) is doing very well, after having the tree branch that was shading it pruned away, and a garden bed built up around it. There was just one stick of it left, but it’s now full of the biggest, healthiest leaves it’s had since we moved here!

So overall, we’ve had more increases than losses, so far! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: first loss

While checking on the garden beds this morning, I found this.

One of the transplanted Mongolian Giant sunflowers was pulled up. With the leaves gone, I didn’t even see it at first. It was the gap in the spacing that had me looking for it.

Thankfully, it is the only one that was nibbled on.

I’m glad I moved the trail cam from the tulips to the garden. On checking the files this morning, I spotted a deer running by on the far side of the self-sown trees by the main garden beds. Something had startled it away, which is likely why there was only one plant eaten.

Right now, I’ve got the camera set up nearer the house, covering most of the main garden beds, with the far beds and blocks visible in the distance. We’ve got so many things around the main beds by the house, including the makeshift covers on the spinach, that I think they’re pretty safe now. I want to move it to cover the corn and sunflower blocks. I want to see where the deer are still coming in, to give me an idea of where we need to add deterrents. I think I’ll tie grocery bags to the stakes at the sunflowers to flap in the wind, too. It is very likely that the ones tied to the pea trellis are what startled the deer away, though there is no way to know for sure.

Today is not supposed to get as hot as yesterday – though previous forecasts had today being the hotter day, so who knows. We aren’t supposed to hit our expected high of the day until 7pm, though. Usually, the hottest part of the day is around 4 or 5pm. They’re also predicting thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow, and possible rain today. Looking at the weather radar, I’m expecting most of that to pass us by. I’m hoping to finally add the cross pieces onto the squash tunnel today, and maybe even find enough straight pieces to cut more for the bottoms of the frame.

We’ll see what the day brings!

The Re-Farmer

This, that and the other thing

Today was one of those days that went all over the place! So this is probably going to be a very disjointed post! 😀

One of the first things I wanted to get done this morning was to call the RCMP, as advised by my lawyer, about the gunshots from our vandal’s property. For non-emergency calls like this, it first goes to a receptionist who then, if it seems warranted, starts a file (or adds notes to an existing file), then passes it on to a constable, who calls back later.

The challenge was to bring up my concerns about hearing the shots, while also making it clear that there was no crime that took place. The interesting thing is that, as I described a bit of about why it was a concern in this particular case, the receptionist asked, “is this about…” and gave the name of our vandal.

I had not mentioned his name, nor did I mention my own. Yet, she knew who I was talking about!

She might have looked up my phone number in their system while we were talking, but she later had to ask me what my name was, so… that’s probably not it. She did remember talking to me about our situation previously, which would have been at least 8 months ago.

After we talked for a while, she put me on hold to talk to someone else, then came back to me with a new file number, telling me that an officer would call me back later. Since we were going to the city later, I gave my cell phone, just in case.

I shouldn’t do that. Whenever there is a cell phone number available, that’s the first number that gets called!

Once I was done on the phone, I went to quickly do my morning rounds, only to have my pocket start ringing. The officer was calling me back already! I do have my phone set to use WiFi, and at first he could hear me just fine, but then my signal started breaking up. We managed to arrange for him to call the land line, and I got back into the house just as the phone started ringing! Thankfully, I made sure my husband had the phone before I headed outside, so he got it before it went to machine.

In the end, the call was pretty much what I expected. There is no cause for them to go over. They did check and our vandal’s firearms license is up to date, and there are no restrictions in our area in regards to firing a weapon on your own property. He did tell me that, if something like this happens again, to go ahead and call 911, even if I didn’t feel it was an emergency. They would pass me on to dispatch and it would go from there. He also assured me that, even though there clearly was no crime (and I made sure to say, normally I would have no issues hearing gunshots out here), it was a good idea to call, given our particular situation. If nothing else, there is now a file on record.

Now that I think about it, though, while I’ve certainly heard gunshots a few times since moving out here, I have never heard gunshots from our vandal’s property before, or even that direction.

So that’s taken care of, as much as possible right now.

After quickly finishing my morning rounds, my daughter and I then headed out to the city, with a quick stop at the post office, first. Much to my surprise, I found a letter from the Court of Queen’s Bench. I opened it before we continued on, and it turned out to be about the court date for the civil suit our vandal filed against me, in retaliation for applying for a restraining order against him. We had an in-person court date in July but, according to the letter, due to Schrodinger’s Virus, all in-person small claims matters scheduled between May 6 and September 6 were being rescheduled and being done through teleconference calls.

Court of Queen’s Bench is federal, not provincial. The dates seem rather telling.

Anyhow, our teleconference date is set for September 10 now. Since my restraining order is a provincial matter, it is not affected by this. However, from what I’m hearing right now, our provincial government has no intention of relaxing their choke hold on us. I fully expect our court date in July to get cancelled. I really hope I’m wrong.

My daughter and I then continued on to the city, with a brief stop at a gas station along the way to grab some food. Now that we have changed where we get our gas, we’ve started going to a place that not only has hot food available, but even a few tables to sit and eat at, if desired. They’ve got some of the best fried chicken and potato wedges around! 😀 When we got there, I just parked and dashed in to get food. I walked in fine, but as I walked out, something went wrong and a metatarsal in one of my feet decided it didn’t like where it was and tried to escape.

That hurt. :-/

My daughter thought it was a great idea when I suggested that maybe we should keep my father’s walker in the van. Just in case. We do keep a collection of canes in the van, though, so at least I had that to fall back on.

Once in the city, we headed straight to the Costco, drove through the parking lot, saw the line up was even worse than yesterday, and kept on going. We went to the Superstore, instead. They had a line, too, but it was shorter and moving. My daughter reminded me to grab a cane, then when we were in line, she was able to get a shopping cart for me to lean on as we snaked our way through.

The down side of the change is that they don’t have flat carts. We did get most of what was on our list, but only half the amount of cat kibble we should have gotten, and a few other heavier or bulkier things got dropped. We’ll have to make another trip, later in the month. For the kibble, at least, we can go to the smaller city for some things, while other items can be gotten locally.

The price of beef has gotten insane. 😦

Even though we only went to the one place, we were both exhausted by the time we were done. My daughter dislikes shopping as much as I do! We find these trips more tiring than a day of hauling wheelbarrows full of soil. Plus, with the drive, I was having breathing issues again, and my daughter did the driving on the way home. I’m so glad she comes along, “one person per household” be damned. 😦

Still, it feels good to be stocked up again, even if some things will need to be topped up later.

Once we were at home, I had time to check the trail came files. Nothing triggered the tulip cam at all. I had plans to finally plant the beans today, and maybe start on the squash tunnel, but it was insanely windy. For all the rains we finally got, everything is all dried up again. In checking the garden beds, when I pushed my fingers into the soil, it’s dry all the way through. So this evening, wind or no, I went out to water.

I’m really happy with how great the garlic is doing!! Next year, we need to plant more. 😀

I set up the new hose we bought yesterday, and was able to reach everything that needed watering at the far end of the garden. Which was handy, because I hadn’t had a chance to refill the rain barrel we have out there, for the watering can. We want to get more of those. We’d rather use watering cans and warmer water, as the well water gets to incredibly cold.

Which reminds me. I looked up about the mulberry tree. There isn’t a lot of information out there, but I did find one site that proved useful. It turns out that mulberry trees tend to just drop their leaves when hit with frost, and grow back new ones. If our little mulberry had more time after being transplanted, it would have been better, but it may still actually survive. We shall see!

Meanwhile…

I found these tracks on one of the spinach beds. They were not there, this morning! The seedlings at the very end were nibbled on, too. There are no defined tracks in the soil, but I am inclined to think it was a deer. Partly due to the spacing of the tracks, and partly because we almost hit a deer this morning, while on the way to the post office! In this morning’s trail cam files at the gate, there was a deer making its way through the fence and hanging out in the driveway, too. We seem to have a lot of deer activity this year.

Tomorrow, we have to figure out how to set up the new chicken wire to protect our garden beds! Time to go scavenging in the barn and sheds for materials again.

I think that project just took priority over building squash arches!

The Re-Farmer

Tulip carnage

I woke up late this morning, and it was already getting hot by the time I headed out to finish in the garden. I still made sure to check my daughter’s tulips, after so many flower bulbs got eaten the other night.

At first, I was please; the rope I’d put around the front and side had worked. No new damage.

Then I looked further back.

The deer had just gone around the back, through the lilacs and caragana hedge. They didn’t just eat the flower buds, either, but the leaves as well.

My daughter was quite upset. It looks like all the ones with black flowers got eaten. We have no idea if the tulips will recover from having so much of their leaves eaten. We’re hoping they will still be able to grow more leaves, but so much has been eaten!

This evening, the girls added more rope around the area, and dug out some chicken wire that was among the junk stacked around the garden shed. You can’t see it in the photo, but it’s along the lilacs in the back. I still have some plastic spinners I’d picked up from the dollar store, then we raided my craft supplies for some Christmas bells. Those got strung onto twine. In some areas, there are short lengths hanging down. At the back of this photo, plus on the other side of the lilacs at a more open area covered by the chicken wire, we tied longer strings of bells.

Hopefully, this will keep the deer away from the rest of the tulips.

Of all the green things coming up that the deer are going after, why does it have to be my daughter’s flowers? 😦

I suspect the girls will not be so averse to my goal of hunting, anymore. Especially if it’s venison with a hint of tulip.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden, interrupted

Today being Sunday, I normally avoid all unnecessary work. With the weather turning nice, it became a day to get back to hauling dirt, so we’ll have something to direct sow and transplant into, so that counts as necessary work! Tomorrow is supposed to get quite hot, so I wanted to get as much manual labour done today.

I had a couple of distractions.

One of them was the mock orange at the clothes line platform. I was starting to wonder if it had survived our deep freeze in February. We’ve been including it in the watering, and parts of it have started to leaf out, so I figured it would be a good time to prune it, now that I could actually see which parts were still alive.

I did accidentally snip one branch that had leaves, but otherwise, this is all of what got killed off this past winter.

A lot of little twigs and tips got snipped away, too. There’s not a lot left, but I know it will recover quite well. These are remarkably resilient plants!

It was also a nice enough day that the transplants could be set out to harden off again.

This is the first day of hardening off for all the Mongolian Giant sunflowers, and most of the Montana Morado corn. Some of the cups got left in the bin, as they either didn’t have anything sprouted in them, yet, or had only recent sprouts. I’ve been watering them in the bin from below, and I noticed many of the cups had roots coming through the drainage holes, so I put them in other cups to protect the roots while they were outside.

That done, it was time to start hauling soil.

I had company.

Nutmeg really wanted attention!

He and Ginger share many mannerisms. Ginger has a habit of hunching down and flopping a certain way that I just figured was because of the missing leg, but Nutmeg does it, too!

He’s such a cutie. 🙂

This was the progress I made before I headed in. I couldn’t figure out why I was starting to feel kind of light headed, but then I realized I’d had only 4 pieces of toast for breakfast – and it was past 3pm!

You can see the corn block that had been done before the rains started, in the back. I’d finished a sunflower block, another corn block, and over half of a sunflower block, before heading in for some sustenance.

Not straight in, of course, because there’s always something to do first, right? 😀 The seedlings went back into the sun room, and various garden beds got checked. It’s so nice to see so many seedlings, even if they are still really tiny!

After a couple of hours, I headed back outside. On my way to where I’d left the wheelbarrow by the garden soil, I paused to check on my daughter’s tulips. They have not opened, yet, but we can now see the colours of petals beginning to show in most of them.

Something didn’t seem right, though. In fact, something seemed very wrong.

Were there fewer flower buds?

Yes, indeed! Among the tulips closest to the edge, the flower stalks were cleanly snipped, and the flower buds missing.

It seems the deer were enjoying some appetizers!

I am not impressed. I didn’t expect them to squeeze between the plum and apple trees to get at these.

I left them for the time being, and continued working on the corn and sunflower blocks.

One of the down sides of setting up these beds in the area we intend to plant food trees later on, is that they are very close to the road, and today was a high traffic day. Thankfully, with all the rain we’ve had, I didn’t have the clouds of dust blowing in that we usually do. At least that won’t be as much of a problem for long, as the lilac hedge is leafing out quite nicely. It does a great job of stopping the dust cloud. One of the ATVs that passed by turned out to be our vandal, studiously and resolutely pretending not to see me. 😉 Which is fine. At least he’s stopped giving me the finger as he goes by.

During one of my trips back to the pile of soil, I saw him heading back, then could hear him slow down and finally stop on the road. I decided to see why, and found that he’d crossed paths with someone and they both stopped to talk on the road. So I continued with getting the load of soil, then heading back to the last of the corn blocks I was working on. I could hear the vehicles part ways, and our vandal’s ATV driving onto his property. As I was placing the soil, I could hear the ATV getting closer again, though clearly not on the road. Eventually, I heard it stop and the engine was shut off.

Then I started hearing gun shots.

By the 4th shot, I decided it was time to go inside. I have no idea what direction he was shooting in, but I wasn’t going to take chances with a stray bullet. It wasn’t a high powered rifle he was using; it was likely just a .22 I had only a row and a half left to do, but that can wait until tomorrow!

It was shortly after 8pm when I went inside, but I did head back out again about 10 minutes later. I dug out what was left of the yellow rope we found while cleaning up and tied it around some trees by the tulips.

It might be a bit too high, but I hope it will still discourage the deer from going under the bright yellow thing. We can hand dangly things off of it, to further discourage the deer.

As you can see by the spots of colour, there are still quite a few tulip buds. Thankfully, none of the Bull’s Eye tulips – the little ones in the foreground – were harmed. I counted the other ones, and all 54 bulbs have come up, but only half of the Bull’s Eye tulips (I found a fourth one had emerged, though it’s not visible in the above photo).

While I was doing this, I heard our vandal’s ATV start up again, so I headed over to where I might be able to see something. I did eventually see him off in the distance in his field. I can’t imagine what was out there that he would be shooting at. Normally, I would guess a skunk or some other potentially troublesome creature small enough that a .22 would be useful, but that would be an issue closer to his house or outbuildings, none of which we can see from our place. Out in the field like that, I might expect a bear, but if that were so, I would have expected to hear a higher caliber rifle!

Ah, well. Gun shots in the country are not all that unusual. The only reason it was a concern is because I had no way of knowing what direction he was firing, and I would not expect him to care where his bullets might end up, if he missed hit his target, whatever that may have been.

So that was it for my garden work today. Tomorrow, I’ll finish those last rows in the last corn block.

Oh, my goodness. I just checked the weather. The predicted high for tomorrow has been increased. We’re now expected to hit 27C/81F tomorrow afternoon! I’ll have to make sure I finish up much earlier in the day. The expected low tomorrow is 15C/59F. then temperatures are expected to drop right down again. We’ll have overnight lows just above, or at, freezing for three nights. After that, overnight lows are expected to range between 11C and 14C (52 – 57F) and stay in that range, well into June. Theoretically, that means we can start transplanting things outdoors by the 28th.

Which is what I did last year, when we got a frost on June 2. So while we will do the direct sowing we have left to do, the transplants will wait a bit longer!

Once I’m done with the corn and sunflower blocks, we will be done with all the areas that will be direct sown into. The next job is to work on the bed the winter squash, melons and gourds will go, since we will have to dig post holes for the squash tunnel we’ll be building to support them. Once that’s built, it’s back to hauling soil for the beds all the transplants will be going into.

I forgot to take a picture of the pile of soil. It is much depleted! I suspect we will be finishing it off and bringing soil in from the pile in the outer yard, by the time we’re doing the last of the beds.

I am so glad we were able to get two loads!!

The Re-Farmer