Morning company, and that might be an issue!

It’s been a while since I had a whole crowd of cats and kittens following me around in the mornings, but now that Potato Beetle is back, he does tend to join me.

After breakfast, of course.

I was quite tickled to go into the sun room this morning and discover not only the adult cats waiting for me, but Broccoli and Chadicous, too! Even Junk Pile’s kittens were hanging around, though they kept running off anytime I came near.

Potato has a habit of trying to climb me when he wants attention. I managed to dodge him while opening up the trail cam to switch the card, so he climbed the post, instead.

The photo was taken the moment before he leapt onto my shoulders.

He did it again from the saw horse next to the summer squash, and the garden cam!

I have no idea where he’s been for the past few months, but he does seem happy to be back!

While checking the remains of the purple corn, something odd on one of the deer chomped cobs caught my eye, so I took a closer look.

A corn fungus had set in. I’ve seen a few people posting photos on gardening groups of this, asking what it is. Others got very excited about it. Apparently, this stuff is edible and very tasty.

I have no intention of finding out. πŸ˜€

Then there is something I checked on that I actually discovered yesterday.

The old kitchen was tacked onto the log cabin portion of the house at a later date. It has it’s own foundation with a crawl space under it, and it the only part of the house that is not on a basement.

That foundation has cracks in it. One of them is on the North side, near the septic tank.

Yesterday, I spotted wasps all over the area and realized they were going in and out of the crack.

Of course, getting picture of the actual wasps didn’t work out too well. LOL There is one in the shot, crawling through, where the arrow is pointing.

Last year, we had issues with wasps in the corner nearby, under the eaves where the old kitchen and the rest of the roof joined. It was bad enough to pick up wasp killer to get rid of them. So far, this nest hasn’t been a problem, but we will probably have to get rid of it before we get the septic tank emptied for the winter.

What this does tell me, though, is that the crack is open all the way through to the crawl space.

Which also tells me the old kitchen is sinking.

We did sort of know that already. We have seen that the sun room is shifting quite a bit, too – enough to affect the angles of the door, and crack windows.

Which reminds me. We’re having to use the old kitchen to go in and out of the house again. The fix I did on the main doors has given out. You can read about that here, here and here.

There is so much major work that needs to be done on this house, it’s pretty discouraging. What should be done it to get it all fixed before things get worse and end up costing more, but we’re still looking at repairs and renovations probably costing more than the house is worth. Even if my entire family pooled our resources to fix up the home we grew up in, we couldn’t come up with enough.

We’ll just take care of what we can as we go along. I must say, though, a lottery win would sure come in handy right now! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

After the rain

Oh, what an amazing rainfall we have had!!!

During a break in the rain, yesterday, we were able to bring in the onions that were still on screens under the canopy. They at least were dry enough to brush off the remaining soil, before their roots were trimmed and I strung them on twine, the same way I did the garlic.

The strings of garlic are cured and now in a cardboard box, while the braid of onions are now in the kitchen, making room for these to continue curing. It’s cool enough, but unfortunately, the humidity was at 77% at the time we hung these up. Which is still better than outside! With the fan going, I hope they will cure okay. I kept the tops on, so that they could later be braided.

While doing my rounds, I found several clusters of mushrooms had sprung up in front of the cucamelons and gourds, over night. An encouraging sign of soil health improving. πŸ™‚

There were a lot of hungry kitties! Junk Pile’s kittens are showing up at the kibble house more often, but I only see them because they heard me coming out of the house and ran off. One has been running under the cat house, whiel the others dash out of the yard. Our chances of socializing these ones seems rather low, unfortunately.

We are still leaving kibble further out for Butterscotch’s and Rosencrantz’s babies. There seems to be a bit of territorial disputes happening, and this ensures everyone still gets some food.

We didn’t get the predicted thunderstorms, but we did have high winds along with the driving rain, resulting in this wind damage to some of the sweet corn. This is the middle block, which has the tallest of the sweet corn.

I think some of those cobs may actually be ready to pick!

With so much rain overnight, I decided to go and check the gravel pit dugout. This is how it looked yesterday morning.

This is how it looked about 24 hours later.

That is so amazing!!!!

For a bit of perspective, though, look at the green parts to the right of where I’m standing to take the photo, then at the top left, where there is an opening in the trees.

The green part on my right is part of the original gravel pit. While it wasn’t as deep as where the dugout is now, it would normally have been part of the pond that had developed in here. The area in the background on the left is basically mash, and would at least have been muddy. Which means, when we get an more average year of moisture, that entire pit should be full of water, with water extending into the low area on the right, and the marsh in the background. Where I am standing to take the photo would be a few feet from the water’s edge.

With so much water here, I just had to go and check the pond, too.

Yes!!! There is even water at the bottom, here!

That is just so awesome to see!

Okay, it took me a while to find, but I knew I’d posted photos of the gravel pit. Here is a photo of the old gravel pit, taken in June of 2019.

All that area of water that’s furthest away is where the new dugout was made. The area to the left is the shallower area that was left alone.

What a huge difference!

So appreciating the rain we got. For the cows and the wildlife, too!

The Re-Farmer

Wasps, fire and other things

Yesterday was a day of running into town a couple of things, but I did manage to get one important – if rather late – job done in the evening.

I burned a fungus.

I really should have done it earlier in the year, but just didn’t have the chance until last night. Mostly because of winds. Yesterday evening was finally calmer. The fungus seemed to be growing anew on the remains of a stump, so I really wanted to get that burned away. Because this was under tree branches, I used the sheet of metal to prevent the flames from getting to high, even though I kept the fire small. It ended up being handy. I found that, by moving it around, I could basically direct the fire to around the stump area more easily, making sure to get all the fungal bits.

I had found the fungus almost a year ago, while taking photos of various mushrooms around the yard. The ones growing on the old apple tree stumps were so pretty and unusual, I looked them up – only to find out they are a deadly disease called Silver Leaf, and likely what is killing our crab apple trees. To get rid of it, at its worst, it is actually recommended to take out the tree, roots and all. I have no way to take out the roots – and this stump is in between two other trees, which are so close together, I wouldn’t be able to do so without damaging the other trees, anyhow.

The larger stump I’d burned earlier shows no signs of growth on it. I still need to burn it the rest of the way down to ground level, just because it’s sticking up so high. I could cut it flush to the ground, but this way, I can also burn the stack of diseased branches we’d pruned away, too.

Reading up on this disease again, I find myself thinking of the fruit and nut trees we intend to plant in the area, in the relatively near future. We might have to get brutal to eliminate the disease, and simply cut down any tree that shows signs of the disease. This includes inedible crab apple trees closer to the house, where several have already died. Even the plums (also an inedible variety, but one that my dad used to make wine out of) show signs of it.

*sigh*

That would be a job for next year. For now, we will just burn away what we can, including the pruned branches.

This morning, I headed over to do a meter reading on our power pole. I’ve stayed away, since it’s got a wasp nest under it, so I haven’t actually looked at the nest for a month.

Hhhmmm.

It… looked pretty quiet in there.

Was that spider webs I was seeing in the opening???

Yup.

There was a dead wasp in the opening, too.

I am guessing this nest, being as exposed as it is, did not survive that frost we got not long ago. The tree by the house is still buzzing, so the wasps inside it are still active, but I can probably remove this nest safely, now.

I don’t want to destroy it, though, so I’ll think about how to take it down with as little damage to the nest as possible. I should be able to peel it away from the box and the post easily enough. That power cable it is built around will require greater care.

There was also a snoozing moth next to it! πŸ™‚

In other things…

The reason we had to go into town a couple of times yesterday was because the girls had arranged for a vet visit for Leyendecker. The boy is now snipped!

It still blows me away how expensive it is to get that done – and it costs twice as much for females! Thankfully, the girls are taking care of that, as they are able.

I took advantage of being in town to pick up some scrub brushes, including for just outside stuff. This morning, I finally was able to give the outside cat water bowls a thorough scrubbing. I was even able to scrub the bird bath. I’m amazed we got another year out of that thing! It developed such big cracks in it over the winter, and yet it still holds water!

Oddly, this year I have found a couple of drowned frogs in it. We’ve been seeing a lot of little frogs in the garden plots this year, which is great, but why would we have drowned frogs in the bird bath? I keep a brick in it, so the smaller birds can more easily reach the water. Plus, with all those cracks and not expecting it to hold water very well, I haven’t been keeping it as full as I used to. Any frog should have been able to get out of the water, easily.

I’ll have to keep a closer eye on it, now that I’ve cleaned it and refilled it. So strange!

The Re-Farmer

Fungus fire

Yesterday afternoon, we had a constant, light rain.

The perfect time to light a sketchy fire!

Of the several fungus infected tree stumps we need to burn out, I started with the only one that isn’t cut flush to the ground. I figured I should get the bigger one done first; the rest will get done very quickly, in comparison!

The metal ring I rolled over from where I found it by the storage shed was just the right size.

You can see some of the fungus from last year, dried up on the side of the stump facing me. On the other side is the remains of an ants nest. When we cut what was left of the tree down and left the short length of trunk next to the pile of diseased branches we’d pruned earlier this summer, the ants moved with it!

So no killing of ants involved. πŸ™‚

Of course, I made sure to have a hose handy, even with the rain. The wood used as fuel is from the stack of diseased branches, which all need to be burned.

I set myself up with a chair and an umbrella, too. πŸ˜€

It took a while to build the fire around all of the stump, partly because I needed to keep the fire small. It wasn’t directly under another apple tree, but close enough to potentially damage some of the branches.

I’m not too worried about that particular tree. Of all the apple trees, that one has the smallest, least edible apples on it.

The birds and deer like them, though, so that’s good.

This tree is one of the ones I want most to protect.

It’s at the far end of the row of trees, and next to one of the stumps cut flat to the ground that we found fungal growth on, too. This tree already has tasty apples! It has the wonderful combination of sweetness and tartness that I love. There is one other tree, at the very end, that also has really good apples, though they take quite a bit longer to ripen. The main grafted part of that tree died, and it’s the suckers from the base that are producing such nice apples. Usually, it’s the other way around.

So I’m rather motivated to keep this fungal infection from spreading! We really should have done this in the spring, but the weather was not at all co-operative. Spores for these emerge in the fall, so we have a bit of time, yet.

When I stopped for the day, I scrounged for something to cover the stump with. The fire was out, but might still smolder, so I wanted to make sure it couldn’t flare up or spread.

That top of an oil drum is something I fished out of the edge of the nearby spruce grove when I cleared the north side of it. The metal sheet was just one of those things among the garbage we dug up near the old garden shed.

The fire got quite a bit of it cleared. I don’t know how far into the wood the fungal infection gets, but even if the fire killed that off, I still need to get the stump down to ground level.

For now, I’ve taken an ax to it to break it apart a bit. We’ll start another fire on it later and repeat the process as often as necessary.

We’ll see what the weather is like.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties… and that’s going to have to go

The kittens have been noticeably more active, and I’ve been finding one orange one in particular, at the furthest end of their little nest box, looking out into the rest of the basement.

They are still very quick to bunch up again, though!

Lately, when I got downstairs, I have been leaving the basement door open. Beep Beep goes upstairs to explore, while other cats follow me downstairs. To explore.

Including Keith.

We’ve put the twin size bed frame against the wall for storage, and they quite enjoy climbing up to the top, to check things out from on high! πŸ˜€

While doing my rounds outside this morning, I spotted something new on one of the crab apple trees.

It looks like a fungal disease. It seems to be only on the one branch, so I hope that pruning it off will do the trick, but this tree has already had quite a few branches removed due to infection, and trees on either side of it have as well. It might be better to remove the entire tree, to prevent it from infecting the others. I will also be working on the areas we spotted a potentially deadly (to apple trees) fungus, so I might do it all at the same time.

Quite a few of these trees are just not doing well at all. I don’t know that the type of crab apples are particularly prone to fungal disease, or if it’s more a matter of their age making them more susceptible.

The important thing will be to prevent the spread of the fungus, and that means burning the wood. As some of the infections are in stumps already cut level with the ground, I plan to bring one of the metal rings we’ve got lying about to put over where these stumps are, and making a small fire on top of them. We are already under fire ban right now, but it’s not a complete ban, so contained fire pits and burn barrels are still okay.

Something else to add to the to-do list for outside!

The Re-Farmer

Pretty… and deadly?

Okay, so I’ve managed to upload enough pictures to complete a few posts – if not in the way I originally planned! There are power outages in the area due to the storm so I figured, if I’m going to do it, do it now!

A few days back, I was able to get some really interesting photos around the yard. Especially images of various mushrooms that have been growing.

I must say, it feels strange to be posting this on a day when the ground is now covered in heavy snow!

This patch caught my eye because of the way it frames the drip line of the spruce tree nearby.

This patch is an odd one. It’s the only area where there are SO MANY all in one area. At first, I thought maybe the wood chips we used as mulch may have contributed, but the other areas using the same mulch do not have this.

Unfortunately, the haskap bush (female) in the first photo, which had been doing so well all summer, suddenly seems to have died. You can barely even see it in the photo, among the stems of the flowers. I find myself wondering if the mushrooms might have contributed to its demise. The other haskap (male) seems to be okay, though it does not have as many mushrooms growing beside it.

Next spring, I’ll have to pick up at least one female haskap transplant. Or more. With this one dying, it means there’s no chance of having berries next year. 😦

While going around the yard, I spotted the tiniest of splashes of colour on an old tree stump I uncovered while clearing the old wood pile. The next day was our one hot day, and that seems to have damaged them, so I’m glad to have gotten a few photos. I’ve never seen anything like them before!

I had company while I was walking around the yard, taking pictures. I had to laugh when, once again, as I tried to get photos of this particular mushroom, I had a cat jump up and interrupt. LOL

I’ve been going a bit of research, and it seems that these tree mushrooms that are growing on the maples may be oyster mushrooms. Which means they are edible!

We won’t be taking any chances, though, but it was interesting to read about.

These ones I found, pushing their way through the leaves, looked really interesting!

I found these interesting, too. With all the rain, there has been a notable increase of growth on the trees themselves.

The lichen, I’m used to seeing. Finding new moss establishing itself among the lichen was cool. Little baby mosses! πŸ™‚

Then I noticed one of the trees I was taking pictures of, has a big crack in it! Something to watch out for when we have high winds, such as today.

While doing my research on what sorts of fungi were growing on our trees, I made a discovery.

The photo on the left is on the stump of an apple tree my sister had pruned back before we moved out here. The tree had some growth that first summer, but it did not survive the winter. Recently, we spotted the fascinating fungal grown on it. The purple makes it really stand out.

It turns out to be something called Chondrostereum purpureum.

And it’s a disease. Silver leaf disease, so be exact.

How to get rid of it

Many plants will recover naturally from an attack of silver leaf, so it’s best to wait some time after you’ve noticed the silvering before you take action. If branches start to die back as a result of the disease they should be pruned back beyond the spread of the brown colouration, to the next adjoining stem.

Where the entire plant is infected, or silvering starts to appear on suckers growing from the roots/rootstock, then it is infected throughout and should be removed (roots and all) and destroyed (burned). This should be done before September to prevent the spores developing and spreading to other plants. Don’t leave the wood lying around as this may become a source of infection for other plants.

Is it good for anything?!

No.

Wow. Okay.

Actually, I did find that there is a use for it. It’s used to deliberately infect problem trees to get rid of them.

So I went back and looked at the other trees, and found some growing on the remains of a crabapple tree that had already been cut to ground level.

We weren’t able to go anything about it before the storm hit. Hopefully, it won’t infect the other trees. At least we now know about it, and what to do – or not do – to deal with it.

Once this storm is passed, we’re supposed to actually warm up a bit; the snow on the ground will likely not last. Here’s hoping! We still have quite a lot to do outside before winter hits!

The Re-Farmer