Our 2022 garden progress: As the saying goes…

“Make hay while the sun shines.”

Except the sun isn’t shining, and we’re raining again, but I did get to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.

This morning was mild enough that I was able to get our transplants outside to harden off. I also took advantage of the lack of rain to work on the old kitchen garden some more, trying to get as many roots as I could out of the L shaped bed, then in a couple of tiny little plots we may or may not plant in. In one of them, I noticed asparagus coming up! There’s just the one plant there, but I knew there were more on the opposite side of the garden, so I went looking. Sure enough, there were some spears coming up there, too. These are asparagus that have been there since before my parents bought the property, in the early 1950’s! I weeded around them as best I could, then checked under the straw much of the purple asparagus bed we planted last year. Still nothing there, that I could see.

After the transplants were brought back indoors, I started to settle in with “breakfast” (it was past noon. LOL) and check my computer, when I got a message telling me about someone who was offering up some carboard for mulch. There is a food waste reduction program that collects food that cannot be sold for human consumption for one reason or another, and distributes it to people to feed to their animals, thereby keeping it out of the landfills. Much of this is in cardboard boxes, which can pile up pretty fast! I was able to get in touch with this person and, before I knew it, I was heading out to pick up some cardboard!

That muddy spot on the road near our intersection is getting worse. With the upcoming expected rain, I’m not sure we’ll be able to get through for much longer. We shall see.

The person I met up with was absolutely awesome, and we ended up chatting for quite a while about the things they’re doing on their farm. I was really interested to see some of their fencing; particularly their buck and pole fence. No post holes required! That would be ideal for the temporary fencing we want to make. I just showed the girls pictures and talked about it, and they thought it was a good style of fencing to use, too. Over the next while, as we work on cleaning up dead trees and collapsed sheds, we’ll set aside the materials we’ll need to make them.

The town I went to, to pick up the cardboard, is a town I’ve never been to before. One of many places we drive past on the highway, see the signs and think “gee, we ought to go there one of these days”, and never manage it! While there, I drove past an antique store and flea market that happened to be open today (they are open only 3 days a week), so I had to stop by on the way home.

One of my favourite things about visiting antique stores is seeing all the stuff that I grew up using. Like this.

We used a saw like this to cut our firewood. We had an old tractor with a wheel on it that the belt attached to, to power the saw. That thing made short work of a big job!

There were so many things in there that I either used as a child, or that we have here at the farm, including a couple of pink glass antique oil lamps, like one we’ve had here at the farm for as long as I can remember. It’s still tucked away in a storage space near the ceiling in the kitchen, though we’ve had to block it off to keep the cats out of it. Ours is missing the chimney, though. I asked about it, and was told they are VERY hard to come by. They are a very different size and shape. There were a lot of other really awesome things there. I definitely want to come back with the girls.

Once at home, I backed the van up near the garden – unfortunately tearing up some of the lawn in the process, because parts of it are so muddy! At first, we were thinking of leaving the van there,, with the cardboard stored inside, but I knew it was going to start raining soon. So, while the girls started supper, I went ahead and started going through the boxes to take off any pieces of tape or labels that would come off.

I was able to set up the rolling seat and a garbage bag under the lift gate, and mostly stayed out of the rain once it started. 😀

Yeesh. Laying that black tarp down really doesn’t do much to kill off the grass and weeds. Normally, I would have taken the weed trimmer to the ground, first, not our weed trimmer is corded. This far from the outlet on the house, I’d have had to use at least a couple of cords, and there’s a puddle of water in the way. Not going to happen! The tarp I took off is now pegged down on top of the second tarp. The two of them together will do a better job in killing off the grass, until we can start laying cardboard down under there, too.

I was able to lay down such a nice, thick layer of cardboard! When we were laying cardboard down under previous beds last year, we had to be rather parsimonious about it, because we just didn’t have all that much cardboard. It was better than nothing, but not enough to make a really good weed barrier. Some of these boxes are made out of a really thick cardboard, and I was able to overlap the edges really well, too.

It has been left like this to be rained on. Normally, we’d be taking a hose to it, to saturate the cardboard before laying the straw on it. It can take a really long time for the cardboard to get wet all the way through. It would take even longer, with such thick cardboard and so many layers. These boxes had been stored outside, though, so some of them were already damp, which helps.

This is all the cardboard that’s left!

I’ve already been offered more, if I want it. Which I will happily accept! We’re still supposed to get rain all night, with a mix of rain and snow by tomorrow morning. At least now the forecasters are saying the rain will stop tomorrow morning, and we aren’t expected to get more for the next 5 days. That should give the road enough time to dry up and be more accessible, I hope. The municipality might even have a chance to fix it before we get another expected 4 days of rain! At least it’ll be warmer by then, and we won’t have to worry about snow.

Speaking of which…

The high raised bed now has its plastic cover, to hopefully keep things a bit warmer if it snows. Both the onions and spinach under there should be able to handle the cooler temperatures, but I’d rather give them what protection I can.

After taking the picture, I noticed the plastic already has a hole in it! It’s a pretty thin plastic. Or perhaps the hole was already there, right off the roll. This was the last of a roll, so the very end of it was a bit mashed up.

This should be the only time we’ll want to cover the high raised bed with plastic. After this, if we ever need to cover it again, it’ll be with netting or something like that, to keep the critters or the insects out.

As you can see in the back on the left, the garlic here is doing really well! The other two beds are still barely showing, and very few of them. I’m starting to wonder if I’d planted them too deep or something, though these ones were planted at the same depth, so… I don’t know. We’ll see how they do as things warm up.

This was not the only step ahead we got in our garden and growing plans. While I was out, my daughter started digging holes for planting trees in. Holes that are now half full of water, but that’s to be expected right now. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue once the trees actually get here and we start transplanting them.

I’m so glad I was able to head out to get this cardboard today! Having a flexible schedule, and the girls to take care of things while I’m gone, is something I really appreciate. That and people like Wolfsong, who let me know about the cardboard being offered up. Thank you so much! You’re awesome!

The Re-Farmer

What a wonderful day!

Today has been such a great day!

And not just because we can use our plumbing again. 😀

When I checked the basement this morning, everything had dried up so much, I could unplug the blower fan. The house gets so dry in the winter, it doesn’t take long, even without the fan.

The highlight of my day, however, was being able to get together with a friend from out of province, who happened to be in town for a few days. We were set to meet for a late breakfast, and ended up spending many hours together. It was so fantastic.

This is also the first time I’ve eaten in a sit-down restaurant in more than 2 years. This wasn’t something we did often, to begin with, so when the restrictions started, many places refusing to recognise medical mask exemptions, and then organic humans getting segregated, it just wasn’t worth trying. We just did take out with the placed we new were on the green list, and will continue to stay away from the places that got on the black list.

It’s also been ages since I’ve had the chance to go to the lake, and where we were meeting was right near it.

The ice fishing huts are gone, but it looks like the ice driving track is still in use. Or perhaps those are the lanes to get to and from the huts. Normally, once the ice is thick enough to support the weight, this area has what looks like an entire village of fishing huts.

After my friend and I had a lovely breakfast, we checked out some of the shops that were open; there are a lot of “new” ones, and shops I remember are long gone. One of the “new” shops turned out to have been open for 3 years!

As you can tell, I don’t shop much.

We ended up spending quite a long time in one particular store and got to chatting with the owner, and I discovered we are “neighbours”. She has an amazing store but, unfortunately, it’s been very hard for them. It’s very much a tourist town so, like many shops, they pretty much close for the winter. They have a lot of really amazing clothing, including some in my size, so I will definitely need to come back when I have a clothing budget. Normally, I just by work clothes for myself, but it’s nice to have something not designed to survive heavy manual labour for a change. 😉

We hung out together long enough that we ended up going for a late lunch together, too. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get together again before she has to leave.

Chadiccus was happy to see me when I got home!

I noticed their water bowls were frozen, and the heated bowl in the sun room was almost empty again. This morning, I looked out the bathroom window and saw one of the ‘iccuses curled up in the empty water bowl, sleeping! I’m glad they can use it to keep warm, but with the outside heated water bowl not working right now, and everything freezing again, I don’t want them to run out of water.

We’ll have to pop open the roof of the cat’s house again and check the cord. It looks plugged in at the outlet inside the cat’s house, when I look through the opening, but it may have been knocked loose by wrestling cats or something. The bowl itself appears completely undamaged.

While I was out galivanting with my friend, my daughters were hard at work at home, catching up on all the dishes we couldn’t get done until the septic and drain was dealt with. It was a huge job. It’s amazing to see how many dishes, pots and pans get used in just a couple of days, when you suddenly can’t wash them!

On top of all that, we are finally feeling warmer again, mostly because the winds have started to die down again. Starting tomorrow, we’re supposed to warm up to just around the freezing mark again for a few days, then it’s supposed to go above freezing and stay there.

In preparation for that, the municipalities have finished cutting a channel in the snow in one of the ditches that stretches from the highway near our place, all the way to the lake, to prevent flooding. Driving in town today, I noticed a lot of the paved roads are already torn apart by the freeze/thaw cycle. Driving on the gravel roads is already a combination game of “dodge the pothole” and “dodge the big rocks heaved out by frost”. It’s going to get muddy.

It’s going to be great. Everyone is SO done with winter right now!

The Re-Farmer

The cuteness, and I have the best friends!

A bit of cheer to share!

First up, is this the cutest face, or what?

I love how he’s got his face smooshed into his own leg.

And no, he’s not as soft and fluffy as he looks. He’s even softer and fluffier!

I was also finally able to get to the mail today and found a gift from a dear friend.

She sent me yeast!

The top packets are from the one time I was able to find some locally. I’m not a fan of the quick rise instant yeast. It may be more convenient, since it doesn’t need proofing and can be added in with the flour, but I’m a bit more old fashioned about that. Traditional, you might even say. Teehee. I made a funny. Well… I made myself laugh, at least. I’m a goof. I know it. 😀

My dear friend actually found some traditional active dry yeast. These have the larger granules and require proofing. I can’t even really say exactly what I’m seeing or tasting different about using this yeast, compared to the instant yeast. It’s a combination of feeling slightly different while working the dough, a difference in how it rises, and subtle differences in taste and texture in the end result. I just like it better.

One of these days, I want to try the even older style wet yeast. No hurry on that. From what I’ve seen, they come in bricks the size of a pound of butter. I’d have to be planning on a whole lot of baking, to use it up quickly, before I even consider picking any up.

So now we have a bit of a buffer in case, for some reason, we can’t use our sourdough.

M, you are such a sweetheart! I miss you dearly. ❤

The Re-Farmer

Visitors 

Last night, we were blessed with some awesome visitors.  My son from another mother and his Lady Fair came with their mechanical beast of burden and three animal side kicks.

It was fantastic to see them as they have their own major move, even farther than ours.

So we had our New Year’s dinner early and stayed up to the wee hours.  Good company, good food and good conversation.  Can life get any better?

Well, it could have for our own cats, unfortunately.  While DaBoy would probably have settled in with our animal visitors fairly well, especially since we shared our home with the two cats for some time, his mama was far less tolerant.  When she saw the dog, much to my surprise, she didn’t run off.  No, she was the one who was going to chase him!  The poor dog was just trying to be friendly, too, but she would have none of it.

After much crashing and banging and knocking over of things, we had to close up our own cats into the office for the night.  We moved their food, water and litter in with them, of course, and would pop in to give them some loving, but they were not happy campers.  Mama has always been more of a bundle of nerves than her much more laid back son, but her frazzled mood rubbed off on him a bit, too.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard him growl before!  Even while they were on my work table, where a bed was set up for them, and I pet them, she wouldn’t stop prowling back and forth, in between freezing and staring at the space under the door.  She could tell when the other cats were in the hall, no matter how quiet they were.  And if the sound of a dog coming down the hall reached her, the growling would start as well.

That cat just doesn’t know how to chill.

Our animal guests, however, were much more relaxed.

Just look at those eyes!  What a dream of a dog.

Despite having cats for so many years, we’re actually kinda dog people.  We just haven’t been able to have dogs for one reason or another, but somehow managed to have lots of cats.

 

Getting a dog is definitely one of our plans.  Until do finally do, we get to love on other people’s dogs.  Like this beautiful beast.  Such a gentleman, too!

The cats enthusiastically explored every nook and cranny they could, and disappeared a few times in the process.  I think they still remembered us, but it has been long enough that they weren’t quite comfortable enough for cuddles.  At least not from us.  But we at least got to pet them, eventually.

Sharing some love.

And of course, they got cuddles from their human.  They are so hilarious.  They just love being held like babies and snuggled close.

They also found the catnip pillows to play with, which was quite hilarious to watch.

Getting photos, however, was a challenge!  They hardly ever stayed still long enough.  Plus, with a black dog and a black cat, they are notoriously difficult to get photos of.

“Get that thing out of my face, or else!”

They tend to be just black blurs, so I’m happy to have managed a few good shots with my phone camera.

One of the cats, however, knows what’s going on when that phone comes out, and does NOT like getting her photo taken!  Not even while getting cuddles.

Can you imagine road tripping across the country with these three?  Awesome!

It was a grand visit, all round.  I am so glad they were able to stop by and stay the night.  Who knows how long it will be before we can see each other again, in person.

The Re-farmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture
Picture