Wet, wet and more wet!

I am so, so glad the girls were able to get the clogged downspouts cleared yesterday! We had a thunderstorm last night, and are currently under weather alerts for more severe thunderstorms.

This is the one, draining into the north yard, that was causing the most problems. It is under this corner that the most water is leaching into the basement. This basement does have weeping tile, but they are not working as they should anymore, and are probably clogged at this end.

There is another downspout at the south end, but it had only the short piece of eavestrough at the end to divert the water away from the house. For some reason, we’ve got about a dozen or more downspouts in the garage, so I grabbed one for them, and they set it up to extend into the bed where the dwarf Korean lilac is. With how tall the grass is in the outer yard, it was actually a struggle to get through it, to reach the barn!!

I’ll put up with the extension blocking the path along the house. It’s not as bad as the north corner, but we do have water seeping into the basement a bit in the south corner, too. The wall is partly damaged by the roots from the Chinese elm my mother planted for shade in front of the kitchen window. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

While they worked on that, I worked on the trellises.

I decided I’m just going to have to buy more of those bamboo stakes once pay comes in. A pair of them was set up at each of the uprights for the two rows that need trellising. That left me with 4 stakes left. I lashed them to the bottoms of alternate A frames, for 2 on each side. To finish the job on both rows, I’ll need 10 more of these 6′ bamboo poles. Then I used the net from last year and set that up, lacing twine along the ends and at the bottom stakes, to snug it up. We need to get more of this type of net. The spacing is large enough that we can reach through to harvest our beans, peas or cucumbers. The other net we have is 1/4 inch mesh.

After this, I also put a simple rope fence around where we have squash, beans and corn planted. At this point, I just want to stop the deer from walking through it. They’re not after anything there – yet. You’ll see that set up in a photo below.

During the night, the skies opened and the rains poured down! I actually slept through it, awakened only by one exceptionally loud peal of thunder. While doing my rounds this morning, however, I could not believe how much water there is, everywhere! It must have been quite the deluge! I’m still holding out hope to be able to mow the west and north lawns, but that’s not going to happen today, that’s for sure! The west lawn is now mostly under water. Most of the north lawn as well. I’ve never seen that much open water in those areas before.

The squash patch is very wet – thankfully, the straw mulch is helping keep that under control. We’ve had paths between the low raised beds filled with puddles before, but not this much around where the grow bags and the small potato bed are.

I’m actually surprised the mosquito netting has held out. Their purpose is to keep the plants from being pounded by rain or hail, while still letting the water through, and it seems to be working. They’re only held in place with wooden clothes pegs!

I’m standing in water to take the above picture. There is even a large puddle next to the remains of the straw bale. The melons are likely good with the wet – they do need a lot of water, normally – but I’m concerned that some of the potatoes might get drowned.

This is the patch I “fenced” off last night. I used some old conduit pipes I found in the barn and pounded them in place as fence posts. They’ve got 2 lengths of twine running around them, far enough apart that we can just bend down and step through to get to the plants. I also dangled lengths of bells in different places, so even if a deer decided to step through, it would hopefully make a noise and distract it away. I added one of the pinwheels we have to the top of a pipe for the distraction. Little by little, we’ll set up more distractions and noise makers around the garden beds. Eventually, we will probably have to put a hardware cloth fence up, to at least protect the corn.

Assuming the corn and beans survive. As you can see, the sprouting corn is under water in places. The north end of the row with the popcorn in it is all under water. Still no beans coming up next to the sweet corn. Will they survive? I have no idea.

Even the area where the trellises are is full of water. This corner of the yard has been notorious for being incredibly dry and baked hard by the sun. Thankfully, the rows themselves are slightly elevated with the addition of garden soil and mulch, and even our digging and weeding before planting means where the plants are growing, the soil has better drainage.

The nearby sea buckthorn is high enough to not be in puddles – and they are finally unfurling their leaves! Nice to see they all took.

The silver buffalo berry is also doing surprisingly well. Moving south, the land slowly slopes downwards, so the last 10 or so silver buffalo berry are in pools of water. At least three of those have been in water for quite a while, and are still okay. They seem to be quite resilient!

The beds in the east yard are almost surrounded by water. Remarkably, the ground cherries are doing all right. I think that grass mulch is acting as a sponge, keeping them from being drowned out completely. There are pools of water right next to the mulch.

The paths between the low raised beds, and the entire lawn in front of them, is full of water. There is basically a pond in front of the outhouse. Thankfully, the raised beds are making a difference. There is increased growth visible in the Kulli corn, and the beans between them are looking very healthy. The tomatoes and onions are also looking strong – and those onions are really taking off! The 6 transplanted garlic at the far end of the third bed may not all make it, but the rest of the garlic is finally looking like they are taking off. I figure they are at least a month behind the garlic in the main garden area.

The other beds in the south yard are all high enough to be out of water. It looks like all 10 of the sunchoke tubers planted are now sprouted; some of the tubers have multiple stalks coming up. The asparagus and strawberry bed are right next to the vehicle gate, which is full of water, but the bed is doing well. Likewise, the beds along the chain link fence, on either side of the people gate, are above water and doing well. Still no signs of white strawberries.

The old kitchen garden has a slightly different situation. We’ve deliberately built it up over the past 4 years and have the retaining wall at one end, so it’s above the water that is in the lawn surrounding it. The house itself also usually keeps parts of it from getting rained on as much, not to mention the ornamental apple trees. However, the sump pump hose drains into the sun room garden, and that pump is going off quite frequently. It drains next to the bed where we’ve got the beets planted. I shift the end every now and then, so it’s either draining straight down a mulched path between the bed and the laundry platform, or it’s draining into the mulch at the end of the bed, and partly down the path on the other side.

These are all areas that are normally drier than everywhere else. Until this year, the sump pump basically never went off, because we’d been so dry. Now, not only are we getting more rain, but there’s all that nice, clear water from the sump pump reservoir being added. There is currently so much lush growth along the house side of the old kitchen garden that the path we made using salvaged cap stones, bricks and rocks along the house is almost hidden. The high end of the beet bed is almost overgrown with mint – and I dug up and transplanted as much of the mint from there as I could, last fall. Then again in the spring, I pulled up more of it when getting the bed ready for planting! The path is also full of mint at that end, along with loads of crab grass. Moving north along the house, it’s more of those invasive wildflowers, some of which my mother planted deliberately, not knowing they were invasive, and some are the same ones we’ve got taking over all over the place. I don’t mind them in the paths too much, but they’re coming up in the L shaped bed, too, and choking out the lettuce.

We have a drainage hose for the sump pump, but it’s currently being used for the washing machine to drain outside (it sounds like whatever is causing the water to back up in the pipes is still a problem). I’d like to add an extension so that the sump pump drains further away. With the length these hoses come in, we could even move the end to different areas of the old kitchen garden that might need more water, if we wanted. The area it’s draining into right now is getting to be too much of a jungle! ๐Ÿ˜€

We had already determined that we’ll be building high raised beds for mobility reasons. For some crops, like corn, tomatoes and vining plants, we would still want to have low raised beds. High raised beds are notorious for drying out quickly and needing more water, which is why we are using modified hรผgelkultur methods to fill them, with all those layers of wood and organic matter acting as a sponge to hold water. This spring has shown us that even for a wet year, there are benefits to having raised beds, as they are keeping things from being drowned, too. Even a few inches of elevation or a mulch is making a difference.

When we get around to building permanent high raised beds in the outer yard, from what I’ve been seeing so far, water like this will be less of a problem. There are patches with water collecting in them, but where we are planning to build the beds seems clear. We’ll see better once we finally get that overgrown grass cut. It’s about 3 ft high, at least! I almost feel like asking one of our neighbours if they have a grazing animal we could borrow. Otherwise, it feels like such a waste to cut it all!

We’ll figure it out.

The Re-Farmer

Too wet, and a nice surprise

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

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

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

I found a surprise next to one of them.

All the white flowers in this photo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really dislike talking on the phone. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ah, well.

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Surviving the wet, and shed thoughts

The forecasts for more thunderstorms today have disappeared. Right now, we’ve got bright sunshine, it’s 20C/68F, and everything is still wet, wet, wet!

Of course, I had to check all the garden beds. Not only to see how they are surviving the wet, but to see if there was any damage caused by the deer I chased out last night!

So far, so good.

The rain has certainly been good for the beans! The bush beans between the Kulli corn are growing so fast! Even the beans at the bean tunnel, which were planted later, are growing like gangbusters.

The Kulli corn doesn’t seem too happy, though. They may still be suffering transplant shock. Hopefully, the nitrogen fixing beans will help them grow.

The first potatoes have sprouted! So far, only the All Blue are sprouting. I expected the leaves would be darker than other potato varieties we planted, but I did not expect them to be so deeply purple! I am so happy to see them. I was starting to wonder if they were okay or not. The paths between the beds had standing water in them, which means there was probably a lot of water under that mulch. If it’s too wet, they’ll just rot rather than grow.

There was no signs of deer damage, but oddly, something seems to be eating the turnip greens. The sprouts are still incredibly tiny. Areas I’d seen some sprouting earlier, now seem to have none, while the ones I do find have teeny holes in the teeny leaves. Whatever is chewing those holes must be incredibly small.

I was able to do a bit of weeding this morning. The wet ground does make it easier to pull them up by the roots – if they don’t break, first, which seems to be what happens more often. Thankfully, the winds are high enough to blow away the mosquitoes, so working outside will be more pleasant. We still have loads of soil to bring to the garden, but the area in between the pile of garden soil and where we need to take it is so muddy, that will not be easy. Nor will going through the tall grass. It’s just too wet to mow.

Where the water collects is going to help us in deciding where we want to put a foundation for the shed we ordered. If it comes in. With such deeply discounted prices, there is the very real possibility it’s a scam site. I did get an order confirmation right away. If it is a scam, they’re doing a very good job of hiding it. That they are using the Lowe’s brand and images without being shut down is also a point to consider. What we should be getting next is a shipping notice. The shed is supposed to arrive in 3-7 days – or 6-10 days to Canada, under Covid restrictions. Canada has finally lifted the vaxx mandate for flights (masks still required, which makes no sense at all) but truckers still aren’t allowed across the boarder unless they’ve been jabbed, so anything shipped by truck is still going to be delayed. That is an issue only after it’s been shipped, of course. According to the order confirmation email, we can cancel our order within 14 days and get a refund, so long as it hasn’t been shipped yet.

I really hope it’s legit. I’ll keep updating about it.

Interestingly, since I placed the order, I have started to see all sorts of ads in my Facebook news feed about sheds for sale at even lower prices, from companies with questionable names, the same photos used over and over, and quite obviously scam sites. The comments under the ads were all unfavorable, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m procrastinating going outside. It’s now 21C/70F, which is going to make heavy manual labour quite unpleasant. At least the winds are still high enough the mosquitoes shouldn’t be much of a problem!

The Re-Farmer

Staying out of the rain, and taking a chance.

We had thunderstorms pass over us during the night, and it was still raining when I headed out to do my morning rounds.

The girls heard cat’s arguing with each other last night. When they went out to check, Potato Beetle came into the sun room, where he got to spend a nice, dry night, with his own food and water. Thankfully, that meant he had no interest in the food when he went out in the morning, because there’s a very wet and bedraggled TDG looking back at me in the photo – and he’s the one Potato had been threatened by!

All the cats were looking so wet!

And you can certainly see why. All the areas that had finally been almost dry are wet again, including this spot the cats normally use to get under the storage house. Even though they can’t get under there right now, because of the water, they still run through here. So do the skunks. The grass is so tall, you can’t really see that the whole area is under water again.

That lilac bush is struggling so much! It’s basically drowning. It still managed to bloom, though!

The main garden area has got a lot of areas with standing water. If we are to loose anything we planted at this point, it’s going to be from being drowned!

Along the bean tunnel, however, I saw both types of beans have started coming up!

I didn’t look too closely at things because, even though it was raining, I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They don’t mind being out in the rain!

I was keeping a close eye on the forecasts and weather radar. They were predicting a series of thunderstorms throughout the morning and afternoon, including at times when I would expect to be on the road with my mother, to take her to her doctor’s appointment.

So I left early. I figured, I could fill up the tank on my mother’s car and find something to do before it was time to pick up my mother. I’m trying to spend as little time at her place as possible, right now.

Which reminds me… my brother used his Power of Attorney to speak on my mother’s behalf and get her place treated for bedbugs. It’s a good thing he did. She could never have navigated the calls or followed through on them. It was totally beyond her abilities.

Her building is owned by a the provincial government, but the department that administrates it was almost impossible to get to. He got numbers to call from the senior’s centre in my mother’s town, chased a few of them down, found that the contact person he normally would have talked to was away for the week, sent some emails (because he was doing this from work and couldn’t be on hold for 20 minutes, over and over!) and eventually found out that the province is aware there are bedbugs in her building. It’s a problem with quite a few buildings they run. So much so, that they are being treated on a schedule. The next time they are in my mother’s area, she will get a note slid under her door with date and time and instructions. Which my mother won’t understand. My brother was supposed to get a copy of that note and its instructions emailed to him, but he never got it. All he knows for sure is, she’s supposed to be out of her apartment for 6 hours while they take care of the rest. When he told my mother this, she said she would just hang out in the lobby.

For 6 hours.

While her apartment – and any others in the building – are getting sprayed.

My mother, who has respiratory issues…

Yeah…

No.

We’ll find other arrangements.

Once I got to my mother’s, we headed out again soon after. We got to the clinic quite early, but she ended up getting called in early, too!

Oh, the poor doctor.

We were there to talk about breathing issues she’s been having, but when he came in, instead of telling him about it, she started saying things like, “please help me with my breathing…” as if he already knew everything. She and I had been talking about it, and it was as if she thought he somehow heard and knew everything she had said to me!

Between the two of us, we managed to drag out enough information from her that he could figure out what sorts of tests to have done. Any tentative conclusions we both reached by the end of it may be correct, but other things need to be ruled out, first. It will take a few weeks, at least, before all the tests are done and he gets the results.

So that worked out fairly well. Even as we left, though, the doctor commented to me that my mother’s symptoms are quite strange – and they certainly are! Hopefully, we’ll have some answers, or at least a direction to look, after the tests are done. The one that will take the most time will require a call from the city, then someone has to pick up some equipment for my mother to use at home, then the equipment, and the data collected, returned. It may take up to 3 weeks, before all that’s done.

The rain continued off and on, and there was still severe weather on the radar, so we didn’t do my mother’s usual stop at a restaurant (I made sure to ask if she’d had lunch before we left!), and I took her home, with only a stop at the grocery store first. Since I was there with her car, it allowed her to pick up and stock up on a lot more, so she took advantage of it.

I feel much better, knowing my mother has at least some food stocked up, even if it’s just for about a week or so.

It had stopped raining for most of my drive home, more or less, but I’m glad I didn’t linger. The gravel roads are being destroyed by all the rain again. My mother’s car handled it well so far, but we’re supposed to get more storms tomorrow, and that spot near our place is already only passable on one side again. The road past our driveway is still closed, too, for all that I regularly see traffic going by, including small cars. One of these days, I should make the walk to the washout to see how it looks.

On a completely different topic, I found a site before I left for my mother’s, and sent some links to my family to check out while I was away. It was one of those “is this too good to be true?” places. It’s a clearance site for Lowe’s, with various sheds at massive discounts. As in, insanely massive. They were all in the same price range, roughly between $85-$90 Cdn, regardless of original price. It seems that these are all abandoned orders – stuff people already bought and paid for, but never picked up.

After much discussion, we decided to take a chance.

This is what we ordered.

Image belongs to lowescheap.com

They have a 30 day trial period, but it’s unlikely we’d put it together within that time. We’d open the box to check, but would need to make a foundation for it before we could assemble it.

I was sorely tempted by their largest shed. That one did not come with a floor, which I could live with, but also did not come with shingles. Which is not a big deal, but for something that large, we wouldn’t be able to get them for quite some time.

So we went with a plastic one that was the largest, complete shed available. At 20’x8′, it includes two sets of double doors, 2 windows, 2 skylights, some shelves, shutters and a “foundation”, among other things. We’re a bit confused about the included foundation, because it also says a foundation is needed. Looking at the diagram, I think they mean what looks like a 4″ sub floor as the included foundation. We’d have to find and prepare a spot for a foundation, somewhere in the inner yard, where it would be most useful.

The total cost, in Canadian dollars, came out to just over $133 after shipping. Which is insanely cheap. Hopefully, we will actually get what we ordered, and it’s as good as the specs describe it. If it is, it will be a big help. If not… well, hopefully, we’d be able to get our money back.

The thing is, I’ve looked at other sites with deeply discounted products, including things like chicken coops, sheds, garage kits, etc., that I could quickly spot as scam sites. Seeing images stolen from other sites was usually the first warning! This one, however, actually looks legitimate.

Well, we’ll know soon enough. And if it does turn out to be legitimate, we will certainly get more! One that is currently on the site is a 12’x8′ cedar Cabana, with a split door and 2 windows with window boxes. It’s pretty much exactly what my younger daughter wants as the focal point of the peony garden she wants to plant, well away from the house. There’s currently a branch pile that needs to be chipped where she wants to plant it, so it’s not like we’re in any hurry! Looking around at some of the other sheds, there are even some that could easily be converted to a chicken coop, and cost far less than if we build one ourselves, even using salvaged wood.

Here’s hoping!

The Re-Farmer

Water, water everywhere

It’s rained pretty steadily all last night and this morning. Then, when the rain sort of stopped, it was wind we had to deal with. I must say, watching those 60′ plus spruce trees swaying so much and not snapping always amazes me!

Also, the “road closed, local access only” sign is back.

Water is accumulating everywhere in both the inner and outer yards. Even with all the snow melt this spring, I’ve never seen this much water accumulated here. The water extends the length of the spruce grove, though not as deep.

This is one of the highbush cranberry my daughters transplanted yesterday. In the back, you can see one of the holes dug for the silver bison berry, full of water.

Those are expected to arrive by Friday, but I just checked the tracking number, and they have arrived in the city, so they may be here by tomorrow! It’s going to be interesting, transplanting them all, with the ground so saturated.

We certainly won’t need to water them!

Even the paths between the garden bed are puddles, which we’ve never seen since moving here.

Another benefit to raised bed gardens, even if they are low raised beds. Just a few inches higher is enough to protect the newly seeded beds from being drowned out.

I checked the high raised beds, with their sprouting spinach, as well as the onions, shallots and purple peas. Everything seems to be handling the heavy rainfalls just fine. There are even new lettuce sprouts! Just the section of Buttercrunch in the L shaped bed. There’s also the spot next to the rose bush where I just scattered the last of the lettuce seeds, all mixed together, and there are sprouts there, too.

Most of the inner yard is so very wet. I’m seeing standing water where I don’t remember ever seeing standing water before. The storage house has a moat around it again, but the spot between the storage house and the corner of the old kitchen garden just keeps growing. When cats or skunks get startled, they still run through it, so I get a good idea of just how deep it is!

I’m also seeing a lot of people in the area posting photos of roads that are flooded over, both on highways and on gravel roads. Some of the gravel roads have been washed out, just like with the earlier flooding when the snow melted. One person shared a photo of a section on the side of the highway that collapsed.

As you can imagine, we didn’t do the second half of our city shopping today! I’m very glad I was able to help my mother do her shopping yesterday, because I doubt I could have done it today.

There is also a lot more water in the basements right now. Both of them. The old basement has its usual accumulation that we sweep into either the floor drain to the septic tank, or into the sump pump reservoir. There’s also water seeping through in the new basement, in spite of the new basement having weeping tile. It’s mostly in that corner my brother found flooded out and molding, when a rain barrel outside that corner was left to overflow for possibly months, before we moved here. It’s not in big puddles, like we get in the old basement, but water does accumulated in the one corner. Right now, that whole side of the basement looks wet. All we can do about that basement is put a fan on it. The only drain is in the old basement.

There were a few times when the power kept flickering on and off. I’m glad I shut down my computer. I was preheating the oven, and had the range hood light on, and I was seeing both of them flickering on and off. Of course, our internet went out a few times; according to the app, it wasn’t anything at our end that caused it.

As I write this, we are at only 8C/46F, but the RealFeel is 3C/37F. The cool weather crops we planted will be fine, though. Looking at the 5 day forecast, it’s hard to judge when we’ll be able to start transplanting our warm weather crops. They are starting to really need to be transplanted, though.

As we plant things out, and thinking of how to protect our garden beds, wind is something we’re going to need to think about, too. I find myself wondering if we might make use of the rolls of snow fence we’ve found in a couple of places. They would help cut the wind, as well as discouraging critters.

Something to consider, for sure!

The Re-Farmer

Road conditions

While doing my morning rounds, I saw a gravel truck going by several times. We’ve been seeing them regularly for quite some time, now. There must be some major road damage to the west of us, for so many loads to be going by.

When switching out the memory card in the sign cam, I noticed we had a new sign on the road, too.

The “flood waters” sign is gone, and our road is now officially closed.

The “local traffic” is basically us, and maybe someone needed to get into a field. All other homes are on the other side of where the road is washed out.

It was road conditions much closer that had me going through the fence, though.

This is the main road, just before our intersection. This area typically gets soft when there’s a lot of moisture, but with everything so saturated, the weight of the gravel trucks going through is just tearing the road apart!

Smaller vehicles can still drive around it, though. Which is important. My husband phoned in his insulin refills to be delivered today. I was a bit surprised he did that. It seems he didn’t quite get that we really are cut off. Larger trucks may be able to get through the washed out area by the bison ranch, but small cars like the one the pharmacy delivery driver has, isn’t going to make it. He does always phone us ahead of time, before entering our cell phone dead zone, so when he does, I’ll tell him I’ll meet him at the washout. I’ll have to make sure I’m wearing my rubber boots, so I can cross the washout and get the prescription. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t have to sign anything for his insulin, like he does for his bubble packs. Otherwise, he’d have to come with me!

With the big gravel trucks driving through the washout, though, I’m very curious as to it’s like there.

I wasn’t about to walk the distance to find out, nor waste the gas to drive the distance, but I did walk over to check the washout to the south of us. This time, I was able to walk across it.

The road has eroded all the way across now. Walking through, I could feel myself sinking in the gravel and clay. As you can see, some people are still driving through it, though I don’t know how old these tracks are. I wasn’t able to get to this side when I checked the area last night.

The water levels have continued to drop, and today the speed of the water flowing across has also reduced since I looked at it yesterday.

Do you see that line of debris in between the two washed out areas?

It was looking rather different than before, so I made sure to take a closer look. This is what it’s made up of.

I’m not sure what these are, but it’s amazing that something with such deep roots got washed out and deposited here. The field next to the road has been planted with grain, nothing like this, so wherever it came from, it traveled quite a distance before being dropped off here!

The other washed out area has also eroded all the way across. Until now, the shallower water that I would walk across had been on the west side of the road (on the right of the above photo), but now that it’s washed out all the way, the shallower water is now on the east side, along the edge of the ditche, where the gravel is being deposited. It’s all pretty soft, though, and even walking where the grass has managed to hold on, I could feel myself sinking.

It will likely still be a while before they can start fixing this area. I suppose it’s possible they’ve fixed the washed out area on the main road; that road gets so much traffic, it would be a high priority. With now fast the water is still flowing here, however, I suspect they still can’t do much on the main road, yet, either. I’ll find out today, when I meet the pharmacy delivery driver.

Meanwhile, the weather forecast has changed again. The rain that wasn’t supposed to start until tomorrow, is now expected to start today, albeit as scattered showers. We’re now supposed to get rain for the next three days, too, with 2-3cm (under 1 1/2 inches) expected tomorrow. Looking at the 14 day forecast, after 3 days with rain, we’ll have 4 days without, then another 3 days of rain, a couple days without, then a couple more days of rain again. Hopefully, those days without will be enough for the ground to be able to absorb the moisture. Even now, as I went around the property, I could see standing water in only the lowest areas, like the area behind the garage, and even those are much, much better than they were yesterday.

We continue to have overland flooding alerts. The south of the province continues to be the most at risk, but the alerts extend north of our area, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes, and deal with what we get.

The Re-Farmer

Still saturated, but going down

While we still have standing water and saturated soil all over, it had gotten better by morning, compared to before I went to bed last night. It was still raining a bit then, but once it stopped, things started to improve.

The outside cats are much more laid back these days, when I bring the kibble out. For the past few months, I’d have a crowd of cats outside the sunroom door, meowing plaintively. These days, when they here the kibble hitting the trays, they just saunter over. By the time I finished putting food out for them and the birds, there were 8 cats milling about, and I saw a couple of others show up some time later. Though we still see skunks in the kibble house, they, too, are not desperate for food anymore, and we’re needing to put food out just once a day now. We’re even seeing the deer far less; I’m catching them on the trail cams more often than actually seeing them myself.

Some areas are still filled with water, of course. I don’t remember ever seeing standing water like this, in this area, before. Not even when I was a kid.

The boards covering this path are 3 layers deep.

They are floating. The other path has sand and gravel on top of the boards that were laid their, and it’s quite mushy.

I was going to go and check the washed out road, but Rolando Moon started to follow me. Her coat isn’t much different from the colour of the road, so I decided to lead her back home. She even let me carry her for short distances, without trying to claw my face off. ๐Ÿ˜€

The water in the ditch to the left is an area that, as children, we generously referred to as “the three ponds.” Right now, they actually are full enough to be ponds!

While checking out different areas around the outer yard, I suddenly realized I was being watched!

Sad Face was watching me through the lilacs. ๐Ÿ˜€ The only thing that moved was his face, as he watched me walking around him. I did spot him at the kibble trays later on, while tending plants in the sun room. The Distinguished Guest wasn’t around, which is good, because he usually attacks Sad Face when they’re both around.

Today is supposed to be a nice, mainly sunny, warm day. That will help quite a bit with the water levels. Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit cooler, but also mostly sunny.

Then we’re supposed to get another 2-3cm (up to about 1 1/2 inches) of rain. *sigh* Yes, we’re still getting flooding related weather alerts.

Well, at least our water table should be mostly recovered. That should be a big help in the gardens over the summer, and for all the ponds and dugouts that provide water for cattle and wildlife.

The Re-Farmer

Saturated

My daughters went for a walk in the rain, and one of them got photos and video. I decided it was easiest to just put them together in a video.

I went through most of these areas less than a week ago. What a difference!

Closer to the house, the inner and outer yards are getting thoroughly saturated, with standing water in places I’ve never seen water collecting in.

Thankfully, the old basement doesn’t seem to be getting any more water seeping into it, though I can see through the floor drain that water flowing from the weeping tile under the new basement has increased. I moved the big blower fan to a different spot, and the window has been switched to the summer screen window, with the plastic cover still leaning over it, so no rain can go directly into the window. The improved air circulation might be helping keep the damp from spreading too much.

Our provincial government has announced they’re giving $15 million dollars to the municipalities for road repairs. I figure that’ll run out in about a week. :-/ After spending billions of tax dollars on things like phone apps for the Vid, I expect they’ll be crying poverty, now that the funds are needed for what they were intended for.

Forgive me if I sound a bit cynical. We continue to be okay where we are, but I know many others will be struggling not to lose their homes and farms to the flooding. Even our short range weather forecast has changed. Instead of 2 days without rain, followed by 2 days with light rain, now we’re supposed to have 1 day without rain followed by 3 days of rain, with the heaviest rain on the second day.

We shall see how things work out.

The Re-Farmer

Budding

I was so distracted by a conference call I had to make this morning, I completely forgot to schedule today’s Recommended post! I will post it tomorrow and be back to Mondays and Fridays after that.

I did make sure to feed the critters before the conference call, since I had no idea how long it would be.

The cats are much more laid back out the food and take their time coming out, even though the kibble trays were empty. Clearly, they are no longer as hungry as they were when it was still cold out. I only saw 8 cats in total this morning, which means we are “missing” about 10 cats. I know some, like Potato Beetle and Broccoli, will come by later, but others have not been seen in weeks.

After the conference call was done, I went back out to do the rest of my morning rounds. One of the fun things now on the list is checking on the tulip patch. Look what showed up overnight!

Whole bunches of them now have flower buds!

We will have to keep a close eye on them. This is the stage last year, when something ate all the flower buds. We still have some rope barriers and distractions, like bells and spinny, sparkly things, around it that seems to be keeping the deer away (I can see their hoof prints in the mud, going past it), but there’s nothing to stop any small critters.

It’s a chilly and overcast day today, and the crocus flowers are mostly closed, but I was seeing more of the purple ones again.

The first wonderberry in the sun room has started blooming again, and the younger two are covered in clusters of buds. I gave up pinching off the buds; there were just too many to keep up with! We still haven’t even found a spot for them, yet. As they readily self seed, it has to be someplace they can be treated as perennials.

I did try to peak into the cats’ house to see the babies. What I saw were two adult cats so wrapped around each other that, aside from their heads, I couldn’t tell one from the other. It did seem that both were nursing kittens, but I couldn’t really tell. I’d love to be able to get those windows cleaned on the insides; they are quite smeared from the cats rubbing up against them all winter, but we aren’t going to open that roof right now.

As for the conference call, it was to set a new trial date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me. It turns out the previous date was cancelled because the judge got sick. When it was cancelled, we received an email with alternate dates; three early ones, two in May, one in June, all in the city, or three late ones, one in November, two in December, at where we have been going for my retraining order application against our vandal. The only time we had to go to court in the city was for court mediation. I left something like an hour earlier than necessary, and still ended up late. The area is a disaster to navigate. Meanwhile, our vandal didn’t even show up. Just his lawyer was there.

He doesn’t seem to have any lawyer for this one. He has no case, so I doubt any civil lawyer would take it, though when it came up during court mediation, his criminal lawyer did say he’d be willing to represent, if asked, but he hadn’t been asked.

These conference calls run through a docket and, in the past it has taken a while, but this time we were the first ones called. After clarifying that we were there to set a new trial date, and asking if we wanted to attend in person or by video call (which neither of us can do), the clerk spent some time searching and found one date in August. After clarifying that it was at our usual location, I said I was good with any date at that location. Our vandal, as I expected, jumped in and asked if it could be done in the city, and brought up the date he’d chosen before – which he knew I couldn’t do. He said he just wanted to get it over with. Ha!

Anyhow.

The clerk told him it had be be where the “cause of action” was taken, and couldn’t be done in the city unless one of us lived there, or if we both agreed to it. He said he hadn’t known that. Then she said that the August date was the ONLY one that had an open slot we could take. So he had no choice but to accept the date the court gave us. Which is pretty much what I’d suggested be done when I tried to take the November date in the original email exchange, because I knew he’d never accept any date I chose. For me, it wasn’t so much about the date, but the location, so of course our vandal tried to choose the other location! With so many files being delayed over and over, the next available date likely would have been next year.

The main thing is, it’s done and we have a new date. Barring more crazy stuff happening, as it has since all this started back in late 2020, I look forward to a judge throwing it his case out in August.

At this point, even if we were able to do a May date more locally, I still wouldn’t be sure if I could make it. Our vandal may have vehicles that can get through the washouts, but we don’t, and those washouts might just get worse. The predicted rain started while I was writing this, and was coming down pretty hard for a while. We’re still getting weather alerts, and now they’re saying we might be getting 3.5 – 5.5cm (about 1 1/2 – 2 inches) at times. The Overland Flow Flood warning now reads:

High amounts of rainfall occurring in a short period could create overland flooding in these areas which may impact low lying areas, roads, and properties. As the ground is extremely saturated, a sudden rise in water levels could occur in some waterways and creeks Residents along these areas are cautioned about the potential sudden rise of water levels. Follow all directions by local authorities. Listen for updates and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

We aren’t near any waterways, unless you count the municipal drainage ditches, but the washouts we already have will likely get worse. We’re supposed to get a couple of warm sunny days next, then two more days of light rain again. At least now, the 14 day forecast shows a week of sun before we are supposed to get rain again. For us, around the house and the inner and outer yards, that mostly just means more mud. The areas low enough to collect water are not a threat to any buildings we’re actually using. We are okay. I’m concerned about some of our neighbours, though. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The Re-Farmer

Garden prep – getting work done outside

Oh, what a lovely, lovely day! I was able to get things done that have been waiting for a day like today.

Before I get to that, though, take a look and who I found.

Possibly the same grog (groundhog) I saw this morning. It was at a space under the fence critters use to get through the chain link, but there’s water there right now. Because I was so close, it wanted to run through, but didn’t want to go through the water! It ended up running down the fence towards the junk pile, and I didn’t see it again until I was back in the house. The girls told me it was at the feeding station outside our living room window! I could tell it was the same one because it’s got burrs or something it its fur.

Then, as I sat down at my computer to upload photos, I saw two grogs running across the driveway towards the inner yard.

*sigh*

We’re going to have our work cut out for us!

Anyhow. Back to business!

The first thing I wanted to get done was lay out the salvaged black tarps (or whatever they are) in the main garden area.

Click on the images to see them larger.

In the background, you can see sticks coming out of the ground where a groundhog’s den used to be. It took shoving those sticks into the hole and burying them to finally get it out of there. They will be trimmed, later.

The black plastic should help warm up the soil, while also killing off the grass and weeds. We will be growing potatoes here, using the Ruth Stout deep mulching method, to start reclaiming this area.

When we’ve used these tarps before, we’d weigh the edges down with rocks, bricks, fence posts – whatever we could find. Since then, I found a big bag of cheap metal tent pegs, so I used some of those to pin the tarps down. The ground is thawed enough that I had no problem pushing them through – except for the rocks.

So. Many. Rocks.

I think only one tent peg actually made it through with minimal problems, and even then, I could feel it pushing past more rocks.

We have three types of potatoes on the way. Two at 5kg/11 pounds and one at 1kg/2.2 pounds. We will likely break the spaces covered by the tarps into 4 beds with paths, if only to make things easier to reach. We may plant the two 5kg types of potatoes here, and find somewhere else of the 1kg of potatoes. Maybe use one of the two grow bags I picked up on sale, for such a small amount.

The next area I wanted to work on was the chimney block bed along the chain link fence. The last 4 blocks had been brought over and were waiting to be placed.

At this point, all I wanted to do was level off the soil with a hoe, then line the blocks up along the fence. The ground slopes downward along this area, and the gap under the chain link increases along the way. When we built the bed here last year, we had to add boards along the fence to keep the soil from washing away when we watered things. It didn’t work as well as in the other bed (the one now bordered with bricks, in the background) because of all that space under the fence. Having these blocks will solve the erosion problem.

The blocks won’t be filled quite yet. I want to put some more organic material at the bottoms before returning the soil, and adding more, if needed. The ones we filled last year look like they could use some topping up, too.

Next, it was the garlic and asparagus beds.

I’ve been reading up and watching videos about growing asparagus – which is not yet showing – and it seems they do well with deep mulching (as well as being planted together with strawberries, which we might do). The garlic beds have mulch on them that I have decided to take off, and move to the asparagus.

First, the garlic beds.

Click on the images to see them in a larger size.

Pulling back the mulch, I can feel that the soil has thawed around the edges, but the closer to the middle, the more frozen it is. In the photo on the right, you can see some of the ice crystals exposed as the mulch was pulled back.

Also, this is oat straw, and quite a lot of seeds got caught up with the straw. I was seeing quite few sprouting grains, like the one in that second photo! (click to enlarge)

Both beds are now uncovered. The bed that’s in the back was more frozen than the one in the foreground. I couldn’t pull off some of the mulch because it was stuck in ice.

Now that there is no longer mulch insulating the ice, it should be melted by the end of the day. We’re at 18C/64F as I write this, so it won’t take long for the beds to thaw, and the garlic can start growing again.

As for the straw mulch…

The red lines mark there the asparagus is, plus there is a narrow band around it, where we shoved in some tiny onions that were really too small for transplanting, but we didn’t want to just toss. They didn’t do well, which is not a surprise, but what is a surprise is that the bulbs survived the winter and are starting to grow! So when the mulch from both garlic beds was added over the asparagus, I made sure it was not really covering where the onions are.

Who knows. We might ended up being able to collect Norstar onion seeds this year!

The asparagus planted here is a purple variety, and this is its second year. Two years from now, we should be able to start harvesting them. We also plan to get green asparagus crowns, but we’ve got so many things to plant this year, it sort of went by the wayside. I’m still not sure where we’d want to plant them, since it would be permanent.

Maybe here?

When we first cleaned out there area, there was a tire planter that was a car tire cut in half around the circumference, the tire flipped inside out, and still attached to the rim, which raised it up a bit. I had dug it out and tipped the soil onto the ground, discovering it was covering the stumps of a maple – which promptly started to send up suckers! Then we discovered that the planter had been for a type of flower that spreads through rhizomes. Which means I inadvertently spread a weed.

When we built the bed here last spring, we used carboard to try and kill things off first, then layered straw and soil on top of the carboard, to make the new bed. We planted strawberry spinach. If any of them sprouted, we had no way to tell, and they didn’t last long. Instead, the bed was filled with all sorts of other things we didn’t want in it.

So today, I took my nice, new garden fork to it, broke it up and pulled out as many roots and rhizomes as I could find. I then scrounged in the garage and found a couple of pieces of panelling, which I placed on top of the space between the two beds, for something to stand on, and also to smother out more of those flowers!

The little stumps are something we’re going to need to get rid of, too.

I’m not sure what we’ll be planting here. Maybe some squash or gourds, which can be heavily mulched and has large leaves to further shade and kill off anything we don’t want to be growing here.

That was it for outside garden prep. I also adjusted some things in the sun room.

The bright LED shop light that had been used on the inside of the plant shelf got rigged to light the new growing platform over the swing bench. This may be a “sun” room, but it’s not a greenhouse, and this far back from the window doesn’t get much direct sunlight at all.

Also, I’m happy to say that it looks like the two little peppers I thinned out of the other pots have perked up and may actually survive!

Once these were all taken care of, I started to dismantle the broken canopy tent frame. I could only do part of it, because I only brought a Phillip’s screwdriver with me, and the rest of them need a hex tip. Which I have, but I’ll continue it another time.

I still can’t get that one leg out of the soil. I can move it around, and the ground is thawed out for at least a couple of feed, but I just can’t pull it out. We’ll have to dig it out! The amount of force from that falling piece of tree must have been amazing to push that leg, with the flat plate on the bottom, through frozen ground must have been something else! So glad it didn’t land on the BBQ, or it would have been destroyed!

While working on the frame, I noticed the window in the back of the storage house had its cover knocked off, so I went over to put it back. Before I did, though, I could see it was wet under there, so I put my phone on flash, stuck it through the window and took some blind shots.

Oh, dear.

With how the water had formed a moat around the storage house, not coming up to the house itself, I thought it might have been pretty dry. Talk about wrong! It’s a lake under there! The kitties have lost their largest shelter.

This is also the brightest I’ve ever seen it under there. I’m not usually there and taking pictures, this time of day!

Well, no surprise that the entire storage house has been slowly sinking if it gets like this during wet years!

In the 14 day forecast, there are a couple of days where we are expecting light showers, but beyond that, we’ve got all warm and sunny, or mostly sunny, days for a while. That is going to be a huge help in giving the soil a chance to absorb more water, and the high water levels to drop or drain away. That means more chances to prepare garden beds for planting!

I’m having so much fun right now… ๐Ÿ˜€

The Re-Farmer