My new “toy”

My awesome, wonderful, lovely husband bought me a new toy that arrived in today’s mail!

Isn’t it beautiful?

I know, shortly after we moved here, I saw a draw knife in one of the sheds. I remember using it when I was a kid, stripping bark off of spruce logs. It was old and rusty when I found it, but I’m pretty sure it was still solid.

Now, I can find no trace of it. It’s just gone. I’m still positive I saw it, though. I just can’t remember where!

So my husband bought me a new one!

It’s really solid and wonderfully sharp. My husband made a quick and dirty leather sheath for the blade. Just a strip of heavy leather wrapped around it with snaps to hold it in place. He says he’ll make me a prettier one, later.

I can’t wait to test it out!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and a new toy!

I haven’t been able to get photos of the outside cats lately. I have been going out earlier, to avoid the heat (ha! Yeah; I know. “Heat” is relative), and few are around. Today, I allowed myself to sleep in a bit, so there was a whole crowd waiting for me at the door.

I spotted 10 in total this morning, including Potato Beetle who had his private breakfast in the sun room, and Sad Face, sneaking in to the tray under the shrine, being very careful around Rosencrantz.

It’s entirely possible all the cats in the above photo are female, which means they might all have kittens somewhere. For sure, there’s 5 that are female, now that we realize that Bradiccus is a dude.

I didn’t do all my rounds this morning, wanting to go into town to run some errands. I even switched out the trail cam memory cards on the way out, since the sign cam can be reached from the road side of the fence.

The grader went through again yesterday. The road looked pretty ugly, but was much better to drive on, including the bad patch near our place. The road is still really soft there, but at least it doesn’t have massive ruts and mud anymore.

I was just coming up on the highway when I noticed a bunch of cars parked on the road, near someone’s driveway. I figured there was a garage sale happening, and my mother had given me cash to pay for gas, so I decided to stop.

I’m glad I did.

One of the first things I spotted was a hybrid mountain bike. I asked about it, and the guy told me a gear skipped and the brakes weren’t very good. Both things my husband knows how to fix. He was asking $10 for it, so I bought it. There are several bikes in the garage, but they aren’t in good shape, and not as high end as the bike I just got, and we don’t have the time to dig them out and see what work needs to be done on them, so getting this one for $10 for now is fine. It’s a tall bike; something that might be good for my 6′ tall husband, but that’s not a problem.

After paying for the bike, I wandered around to look at other stuff before going back to the bike to load it up. I was walking around a display on the ground when I suddenly noticed just what it was I was walking around.

A miter saw.


So I moved the bike over to the saw and went back to ask about it. There wasn’t much to tell, really. It works. He said I could plug it in and test it if I wanted, but I took his word for it. It’s an older saw, and pretty basic. He was asking $30 for it.

I bought it.

There used to be a miter saw here, in the shed that used to be my late brother’s workshop, but is now a storage warehouse. I’ve seen pictures of it, and it was higher end than this one, but since that one grew legs and walked away, I don’t care. An older miter saw is better than none at all!

Between this and the table saw we dragged out of a shed, it will make things much easier when we can start building our chicken coop, or any other projects we are talking about.

Now we just have to learn how to use it. 😀 We’ve never had one before.

Little by little, we’re replacing some of the tools that disappeared while this place was empty. I’m very glad I decided to stop. I don’t normally do garage sales – they were all over the place! – but not only did I find a couple of good deals, but I finally got to meet our neighbour. It was funny when I asked if he could bring the miter saw to the van while I loaded the bike while he got my change. He recognised it from our driving by so regularly. 😀 He joked about how having the garage sale was the only time he got to meet his neighbours! I know what he means, that’s for sure. 🙂

So I’m all excited for when we are able to start working on some larger projects.

Which won’t be until after we’re done getting the garden in!

Now to figure out where to keep it. There’s no more room in the sun room. Maybe we can find a space in the garage.

That’s a good problem to have!

The Re-Farmer

That was fast!

Wow, did my order from Lee Valley come in fast! After picking up my mother’s car from the garage, I swung by the post office to pick up the mail, and found this.

Only three days to get here – including the weekend!

Now we just have to wait for enough snow to melt before we can get into the old garden shed, bring out the scythe and get a good look at it.

I was doing a bit of research, and it seems the curvy handle design is called an American scythe. These are apparently known for being very heavy, but the one we have has an aluminum handle, and is very light. I remember having no issues with the weight when I was a kid and my dad was showing me how to use it. Being much older and more broken now, I expect to fully appreciate the light weight and more ergonomic design! 😀

As for my mother’s car, my daughter drove it home, and she reports it running just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary, and the check engine light stayed off. We also didn’t get charged for the check up. He did the check, cleared the codes and ran it for an hour, and found no issues. So it does look like it was simply triggered by the changing of the battery. That was best case scenario, too.

I am feeling much relieved!

The Re-Farmer

Remembered to order: from Lee Valley

One of the things we found after moving here, was my father’s scythe, hanging in the old garden shed. I remember my father showing me how to use it, long ago, when our rag tag collection of lawn mowers happened to all be broken down at the same time. The lawn got so tall, my father used the scythe to cut the grass.

I wasn’t very good at it, but my dad made that thing sing!

I was very happy to see the scythe still here, and would love to be able to use it, but we have not found a sharpening stone for it. I can’t even remember what my father used to sharpen it. I’ve been looking for a scythe sharpening stone, but they aren’t available locally. No one carries scythes, either, so that’s not surprising. I did finally find one at Lee Valley, and after much forgetfulness, finally remembered to order one, last night.

Images belong to Lee Valley.

This is a “Water Stone for Traditional Austrian Scythe”. The Austrian scythe is what Lee Valley carries. It is not what we have. I think I prefer what we have, as the handle has a curved, ergonomic design.

Since this is a wet stone that gets used frequently while cutting, I needed one more thing.

A “Watertight Holster for Scythe Stone”. This holster can be clipped onto a waistband, pocket or belt, and water kept in it. The water not only keeps the stone appropriately wet, but any grit on the stone will get washed off as well.

In some areas of the outer yard, a scythe is going to be the only way we can cut the grass and weeds. We haven’t done it since moving here, and it drives me nuts, because it’s such a fire hazard.

Which means we’re going to have to get into the swing of scything!

Here’s a video I found that shows both how to sharpen the blade, and how to use the scythe.

You can definitely see why keeping the blade really sharp is going to make a huge difference! Can you imagine trying to do that with a dull blade? 😀

We’ll have to be super careful using it in the outer yard, though. The ground is uneven, and there may be rocks or sticks hidden in the grass. I would hate to finally be able to use the scythe, only to break it on a hidden rock somewhere!

So the order is in and still being processed. There’s no real hurry, since we can’t even get into the garden shed, yet. The main thing is, it’s ordered and will be here when we need it.

The Re-Farmer


Happy Christmas to those who follow the orthodox calendar. 🙂 Happy Three Kings day. Today is our last day of of the Christmas season, and what a lovely day it turned out to be.

It was another cold one, but there was almost no wind chill, so it was quite bearable.

This morning, we had one deer at the feeding station, while this one just hung out at the gate for a while. I was able to get this picture through the kitchen window.

The deer and the cats are quite used to each other.

I even caught a flash of deer tail going past while I was setting out kibble and warm water for the cats. The deer didn’t run off until I came around with more feed.

Potato Beetle was quite content to enjoy the sunshine in his insulated corner, while the other cats ate. 😀

I found this interesting! One of the selling features of the Starlink system for more northern areas like ours, is that the dish keeps itself warm. You can see the icicles that show it’s working!

I hope the dish won’t need to adjust itself, because it’s quite attached to the roof at the moment. 😀

The roads were plowed yesterday evening, so before taking my mom’s little car out to help her with errands, I opened the gate and began to shovel away the plow ridge at the end of the driveway. While I was shovelling, a familiar looking front end loader came around the corner and headed my way. The driver stopped on the road and motioned to me, but my glasses were frosted over and I couldn’t see more than an arm waving around, so I came over as he opened the door – and offered to clear the driveway for me!

Of course, I said yes!!

This shot was taken after he was done and was backing out to the road again.

Now, I’m pretty sure that’s the renter’s front end loader. I don’t know of any others like it around. However, I did not recognize the driver. It could be they have a new hired hand? I don’t know. Whoever he was, I made sure to thank him enthusiastically, and I was soon off to my mother’s.

My mother had a few errands to run this morning, including a stop at the credit union. With all the restrictions still going on, and so many places that don’t recognize medical mask exemptions, even when I wear the Mingle Mask, I would just open the door for her and wait outside. Today, I used the wait to pop over to the mail box – I finally was able to print out the photo I needed, and have sent off my forms to get my PAL (Possession and Acquisition License), after passing my Firearms Safety course at the end of November. My mother was faster than I expected, and came out while I was about to top up her washer fluid. One of the staff came out with her, to help with the doors. As I helped her back into her car, she told me that the lady helping her saw me outside, and asked my mother to tell me that I was welcome to come in with her. I used to come in with her all the time, but as the restrictions got more draconian, and more warning signs popped up on doorways, I stopped. It’s good to know that they are reasonable.

Unlike our next stop at the pharmacy, which doesn’t recognise medical exemptions, so I can’t go to help my mother at all. You’d think, of all places, a pharmacy would get that some people just can’t wear masks; especially since the (illegal) mandates specifically mention exemptions, but some places really seem to enjoy our medical apartheid. At least they don’t harass my mother about covering her nose. She shouldn’t be wearing a mask at all, and can’t breathe if both her nose and mouth are covered.

The grocery store was our last stop and they are always good, there. My mother was able to stock up quite a bit, and will be set for a while. Between the beef I gave her, and the venison my sister gave her, she didn’t need to buy any meat at all. Which is good, because food prices are getting insane.

Aside from that, I was able to visit with my mother, and we had lunch before heading out for errands. Which is when I was able to show her pictures of her new great-grandson, who was born this morning! My SIL also sent birth pictures of his big brother from a couple years ago, and my goodness, they look so much alike! So far, their mother seems to be doing okay. She has some medical issues that they are keeping an eye on, but she should be home after 48 hours. Meanwhile, my brother and his wife are still there, helping out.

A new baby in the family was definitely the highlight of a very good day!

The Re-Farmer

High raised bed – it’s done!

Oh, my goodness, what a difference having that new chainsaw made!

But before I could break it in, I needed to drag down the stuck tree, so I could use the wood in the high raised bed. Thanks to my husband very securely attaching the hooks I got to the rope I got – rope rated to 450 pounds – it was a simple matter to use the van to pull it out.

My goodness, where those top branches ever entangled! When I started pulling it, it didn’t fall, but stayed stuck until I got far enough that the tree was no longer dragging on the ground, but lifting up. At which point, it rolled up and got dragged over the compost ring, then finally it broke free from the branches and dropped.

Right on the cherry trees we are intending to cut away, so there’s no loss there!

After replacing a large divot of sod that got dragged out, I then used the baby chain saw to start cutting away the branches, and cutting away the top of the tree.

Then it got rolled onto the compost ring, so the rest of the branches could be trimmed off.

Finally, it was time to break out the new chainsaw!

Of course, I took the time to read the manual, first, then added chainsaw oil to the reservoir.

Then I measured out and cut a pair of nine foot lengths from the tree trunk.

The bucksaw does a great job, but the chainsaw did in mere seconds what would have taken me probably 5, maybe even 10, minutes, per cut, by hand!

Then, while I dragged the logs over to the high raised bed, I helped a daughter move the rest of the tree trunk aside, so they could set up the wood chipper. They cleaned up all the dead branches from the tree, as well as the little cherry trees we’d cut away to access the last tree we’d cut down.

They spent more time prepping the branches to fit the chipper and shredder, than actually doing the chipping and shredding! Unfortunately, the little spruce branches were so twisted, they ended up clogging the shredder chute to the point that my daughter had to take it off to unclog it. Once that was cleared up, they did a few celebratory shreds before heading inside to start on supper.


I started working on the high raised bed by first taking it apart! I cut away the notches in the base logs so that the cross pieces would sit lower, and no longer have that gap that was there before. I also was able to clean up the cuts and make adjustments, as needed.

The new nine foot lengths were thicker than I thought, so after I put the bottom cross pieces back, I used the new logs for the next level.

I ended up not needing to cut notches in them at all. Instead, I was able to just adjust and cut the notches in the next level of cross pieces to fit.

It was SO much faster and easier to cut the notches with the chain saw! Pretty much every notch we’d cut before needed modification.

I used smaller, thinner, logs at the top, which turned out to be a pain. These are from higher in the tree, which meant they were not as straight, and had more little branch stubs all over. I ended up having to trim logs along their lengths to get rid of lumpy bits, so things would sit against each other better.

Then I went and cut two more four foot lengths to do the last cross pieces.

There we have it! The high raised bed is built!

Standing next to a corner, it’s just barely reaches my hip. For mobility and accessibility purposes, we could probably have gone higher than this, but I think this will be fine.

Now, we just need to fill it! We’ve got old logs for the bottom, with corn stalks, leaves, grass clippings and garden waste to layer in. I’ll add thin layers of soil in between each layer of organic matter before topping it off with soil for about the depth of the top logs.

That will be a job for tomorrow!

I may have had to juggle the budget a bit to get that chainsaw, but it was worth every penny. There is no way I could have finished this today, without it. In fact, I have my doubts I would have been able to finish it before winter, at the rate things were going!

About the only other thing we might end up doing with this is maybe get some short pieces of rebar, drill holes through the top couple of logs and set the rebar in them to really make sure the logs stay in place.

It’s really a horrible, messy, slapdash job, but it will still probably last us many years.

Now we just need to cut down more dead trees, so we’ll have the material to build more!

The Re-Farmer

Cute cats, stocking up, and I have a new toy!

With our goal of stocking up as much as we can for the winter, on the assumption that we will have a month or two where we cannot get out to buy necessities, our monthly shop is being split up into multiple trips, so as not to overload the van.

Also, I hate shopping, so… babying the van is a handy excuse to keep it shorter. 😉

I was heading out on my own for this trip, so I made the smaller Walmart trip, which let me make a shorter trip to the nearer, smaller city. The main thing I wanted to stock up on there was the cat kibble. They have more variety than Costco does.

Well. Most of the time.

Almost all the dry cat food was out of stock!

At least they still had the big bags of the cheap stuff – which even got restocked while I was there.


With six bags of dry cat food in the cart, there wasn’t much room for people food, but I got enough to tide us over until we can make the Costco trip. I even remembered to pick up a couple of shelf brackets for the second shelf in the outhouse, but I had no luck finding the battery operated LED switch plate I want to put on the wall across from the mirror.

Once I got what I needed there, I then went across the street to a Canadian Tire. Normally, we’d pick up more of the wood pellets we use for litter there, but I didn’t have room for more big bags in the van, so that will wait for the big trip. I got a quart sized can of paint to do the lettering on the sign I’m making, to replace the one that was stolen. We still have some of the bright blue we used to paint the picnic table left, but I decided to go with something darker for the sign.

The person in the paint department that knew how to use the machine to tint the paint was on break, so I used that time to find the heavy duty rope, and some hooks, so we can finally pull that stuck tree down. I also looked for the LED switch plate light I wanted for the outhouse, but there was nothing. It’s a novelty light, so I’m not too surprised they haven’t been restocked. Ah, well.

Canadian Tire is a dangerous place for me to be, with money!

Of course, I found a few other little things we needed, but then I found my new toy.

Yes, I bought a chain saw!

It was on clearance. I decided it was worth going into my seed budget to buy it – and I still have half my seed budget left!

Yes, it’s just a house brand, and yes, it’s electric. I figure I can realistically at least get a couple of years out of it before I wear it out completely. 😉

It will, however, save me massive amounts of time and labour! Now that we have what we need to pull that stuck tree out, it’ll be much faster to break it down into the lengths I need to finish the high raised bed. Heck, I’m even thinking of taking it apart so I can tidy up the notches and make it fit together, better! No more using the baby chainsaw until the batteries are dead, then using a hammer and chisel for the rest! No more bucksaw to cut the lengths I need! Heck, with a 14″ blade, I might even be able to get more of the dead trees down this fall! If the weather holds – dare I consider it? – I might even be able to make at least one more high raised bed. Gotta clean up the existing beds, first, however, there is one bed left the girls didn’t get to clean up in the main garden area, yesterday. We might be able to “clean up” that bed, by making a second high raised bed there, instead! We’d have to cut down at least one, maybe two, more dead trees to do it, though.

Oooo… Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here!

We shall see. Today, we got rain. Lots of rain, so it’s a write off for working on the garden beds. We should have two or three days to get work done before we get a day with rain and snow. After that, it’ll get chilly, with possible snow, but the long range forecast tells me we will remain above freezing during the day, well into November.

With the chain saw and the wood chipper, we should be able to get a lot more done, in a much shorter time. Meanwhile, while I was working on this post, my husband securely attached the new hooks to the new rope I got, which means I can pull that tree out tomorrow, and get to work!

Gosh, I’m all excited, just thinking about it.

So the trip was very productive, though I was more than glad to be done. Half way down an aisle at Canadian Tire, one of my knees decided to try and dislocate, making me VERY glad to have a shopping cart to lean on!

Being old and broken kinda sucks. 😉

Once at home, after the girls unloaded the van and I changed a burnt out bulb in one of my headlights, I took the time to top of the kibble for the outside cats. It was still raining, so the cats were… well, check it out!

Hilariously adorable, is what they were!

They love that space under the kibble house! I’m sure they love having that sheet of insulation to keep their toes warm, too. 🙂

One of the things I hoped to do was build smaller version of the kibble house for the water bowls. I don’t think we’ll be able to build it this year; from what I’ve seen in the barn and sheds, we don’t have the materials to complete it. They really like having a nice shelter from the rain, for their food, though!

What a bunch of cuties they are! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

First day with the chipper!

Oh, what fun!

I got the chipper assembled, and we’ve tested it out. Here’s how it went.

This is after lifting the box off, and removing the bubble wrap around that biggest chute. It was deep in that chute, under other stuff, that I found the instruction booklet.

Which included detailed instructions on how to remove the chipper from the box. 😀

Time for assembly!

The tops of the shredder chute had to be put on first, then the handle. It wasn’t until that was on that I could grip it well enough to manhandle the chipper over the blocks holding the wheels in place, and the rest of the assembly was done outside.

Which didn’t take very long at all. 🙂

Once it was together, I had to go and get fuel and oil. We had only a few litres of fuel left for the lawnmowers, so I had to refill the 20L jerry can anyhow. This thing takes 10W30 oil, and everything else we’ve got – including our van – uses 5W30. Oh, except the new push mower. That uses 0W30.

In reading the manual, it said to put in about 1.1L of oil, no more.

The oil, however, comes in quarts, or 946ml Which meant needing 1.16 quarts to max the oil level.

I bought two and filled it with one. The level should be checked before each new use, or at least waiting until after it has had several minutes to cool down, so I’ll see if it needs to be topped up the next time we use it.

It came with its own oil funnel, which was greatly appreciated. The opening is tucked well under the engine, and the oil funnels I already have would not have reached, nor fit in the space!

The fuel tank on this thing is pretty massive! If I had not gotten more fuel, I would not have been able to fill it.

A couple of appreciated features. One is the removable gadget in the tank opening, with the red fuel level marker. The instructions made a big deal about not overfilling, and this makes a very handy visual reference. The other appreciated feature is the fuel gauge. Love it!

There was just one down side to the fuel tank, and that was with the cap itself. It takes a surprising amount of uumphf to turn the cap, and I couldn’t do it with my right hand at all, due to a combination of arthritis pain and that injured finger. My left hand has arthritis pain, but I still had enough hand strength to open the tank. Hopefully, over time, it will get easier to open.

Once it was all filled up with oil and fuel, I spent a bit more time going over the instructions before we were ready to test it out.

Ear protection is a must!

We also need to get more safety glasses. The pair I have got all scratched up somehow, to the point that I couldn’t see through them!

My daughter brought over the loppers and starting breaking down branches for me, while I set up the collector bag. It’s attached with only a drawstring. It held well enough once the chipper was started, but there were gaps that allowed chips to go shooting out over the fuel tank and around the engine. I’ll have to figure out if there is some better place to attach it. There is nothing in the instructions other than saying to put it over the diverter.

The collector bag is very durable, and I love the zippered bottom that makes it very easy to empty.

My daughter and I started on the branch pile closest to the garage to test it out. She had a bit of a surprise!

There was an old wasps nest in it. It was an active nest last year, so there were no wasps in it this year, but she didn’t know that when she uncovered it!

The chipper is also a shredder. The larger chute at the top is for leaves and small things, including branches no more than 1/2 inch in diameter. With this pile, that’s the chute we ended up using the most.

With the smaller chute, the maximum diameter is 3 inches, however that’s not just the width of the branch. If there is a bend in the branch, or any knobby bit from a smaller branch that was pruned off, it could be enough to prevent the branch from fitting.

The pile had a lot of very bent branches.

The worst of them, plus any pieces we had to cut off to allow the remaining branches to fit, got set aside. They will likely go into the burn pile.

We went through about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pile in about an hour. We did have to stop to take apart the smaller chute and remove a piece that got stuck. There was a little bit of a side branch sticking out just enough to catch on the opening under the rubber guard.

All those branches gave us this.

The larger pile is in the garden, near the high raised bed I am working on. The small pile is what built up under the chipper itself, that had blown out the top of the collection bag.

The chips are quite small. Smaller than the chips we had when the arborists came and cleared trees from the power lines and roof. I am quite happy with that. This will be used as we layer organic matter in the high raised bed, and will also be used as mulch, so the finer the better!

I’m also happy with how much less space the chips take up, compared to the branches they came from!

Another thing I really like about it; how easy it is to move around! This chipper is designed only to be moved manually; it’s not of a size that can be towed by, say, our riding mower. Which is perfect, because some of the places we will be using it in, don’t have space for a tow vehicle.

This thing is going to make such a HUGE difference in our clean up progress! It’s going to take quite a while to chip away the branch piles, but we have been adding to those piles for four years now, so that’s to be expected! Best of all, as we continue clearing away dead trees, we’ll be able to chip the branches right away, rather than dragging them over to the piles and making them even bigger.

I am just so thrilled with this thing!!!

The Re-Farmer

Feeling chipper today!

I am so excited!!!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, and WOW! do I have a wonderful gift to be excited for!

A few days ago, I wrote about a proposal I’d made to my mother. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a garden shed we do not yet have a prepared space for, I suggested she give us the money to put towards getting the tools and equipment needed to clean things up (things she is constantly complaining about). She said she would only discuss it with my brother. Not because he’s the one who now owns the property, but because he’s a man, and I shouldn’t be doing “men’s work.”

The day before Thanksgiving, my brother made the drive out to join my mother for church and go out for lunch. Among the things they talked about was the farm, and what we were doing. Of course, my mother was complaining about what a terrible job we are doing, and apparently my daughters don’t sweep the floor.


How she would even know that, one way or the other, I have no idea. It’s an assumption she’s making. My husband is Metis, which means he’s an Indian, and all Indians are dirty and have dirty houses, therefore we are dirty and never sweep the floor.

Aint’ racism fun? :-/

The irony is that, when I was a kid, my mother made a big deal about teaching me my “duties as a woman” and I was forced to do not only the housework, but things like making my brother’s beds – and hers! Basically, I was expected to be a little household slave. It was very much an abusive situation, though I didn’t understand that at the time, just as I didn’t understand for many years that my reaction to housework after having a family myself was what we now know as PTSD. I was fine if it was just me. I even had a job as a housekeeper at a resort hotel without any problem. As soon as other family members were part of the picture, however… well, let’s just say it was unpleasant. It took many years for me to recognize what was happening and work through it. I still have that response, but I now know how to spot it happening and take steps. What it comes down to, though, is that I am a terrible housekeeper directly because of the trauma she caused when I was a child. I couldn’t even begin to explain it to her. She wouldn’t be able to grasp it.

But I digress.

As my mother criticized me and my daughters for her perceived ideas of how we run the household, my brother tried to tell her to encourage me, rather than attack me. He even asked her outright if she were punishing me for not sweeping the floor, and she said yes!

Well, my brother is an amazing man, and he continued to defend me and tell her she needs to encourage me rather than attack me. She brought up about the “mess” in the yard – most of which are the branch piles – and in the end, she actually agreed to pay for a wood chipper.


More specifically, she told my brother to make the arrangements, and she would pay for it.

Since equipment like this tends to be on short supply this time of year, my brother and his wife went shopping yesterday. They had to go to a bit far afield to find one in stock, but they did get one. Then, since it was already loaded in the car, they came over last night to drop it off!

This baby will chip branches up to 3 inches thick, and he made sure to pick the version with a more powerful engine.

It was starting to get dark by the time they got here, so I took a picture this morning. Yes, it’s still in the box. Today, I plan to spend some quality time with the instruction manual and assemble it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start using it tonight. I will probably have to pick up more fuel, but it should already have the oil it needs. If not, I probably already have the right kind.

This morning, I phoned my mother to say thank you. She knew nothing about it, yet! My brother will bring her the full receipt (he left a gift receipt with me) later.

Of course, my other had to try and bring me down and made sure I knew that this actually belongs to my brother. Which is a given, as far as I’m concerned. What’s on the farm belongs to the farm, and the farm belongs to him. It’s just a matter of semantics, really. Still, he made sure to get this for me, because it’s a tool we need to do the job, and I am over the moon with excitement. We should be able to make a massive dent in all those branch piles, before winter sets in!

I can hardly wait to fire it up!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: we have silk! and loving the new tool

With today’s expected heat, I was out in the garden by 6am, and ended up staying out there for almost 3 hours, watering and weeding. The watering was started after replacing the connectors on three hoses.

I’m a goof, but it did work.

When I bought the connector repair sets, I got what was left on the display, and didn’t even think to look at the sizes. They are for 1/2 inch hoses.

We have 3/4 in hoses.

No matter. The clamps they came with could tighten enough to properly seal them. They will do while I am on the lookout for the right size connectors.

The little flexible piece I got for the tap, to prevent kinking, leaks. In several places! I guess I got a cheap one, though there wasn’t much choice. It still leaks less than it did before. One of the leaks is at the tap itself. Every single hose we’ve ever hooked up to that tap, leaks there. I plan to replace the tap itself, eventually. Meanwhile, there is some very luscious growth happening around the blocks we have under the tap. 😀

When I headed out again this evening, I got to break in the new action hoe.

What a fantastic tool!

I first tried it in one of the onion beds. It did well, but the onions are planted in a three row grid, and it just didn’t fit in between them, so there wasn’t a lot I could do with it, there. Mostly, I used it in the space in the middle, where the purple kohlrabi failed to grow.

It was at the Mongolian Giant sunflowers that it really did the job!

The soil here has always been rock hard, and baked bone dry. Right now, the only soft soil is the layer we put down for each row, and that was just a few inches deep. That anything we’ve planted here is growing at all is pretty remarkable. This thing worked like a dream!

Now, don’t get me wrong: it was still really hard to work around the sunflowers.The soil in between the rows is even harder now, as we walk between the rows to water things. It wasn’t just the hard soil, but also the very fibrous roots from the plants that were already growing here, and now enjoying regular watering for a change. This hoe was able to cut through those roots, and the rock hard soil at the edges of the paths. I was then able to pull out the cut weeds and their roots, before hilling the loose soil around the sunflowers a bit.

I am very impressed with this thing! The tool I was using around the corn before worked well; better than a regular hoe, but not as good as the action hoe. It was one of the unusual tools we’ve found around the place. The head of it is shaped almost like a mattock, except… not. LOL The “hoe” part of it is longer and narrower than a regular hoe, and it has a two pronged spike on the other side that I believe is a weeding tool. I’ve never tried to use that end, yet. It works really well at cutting into the hard soil. Better than a regular hoe, as least. Unfortunately, it’s quite old, and the head sometimes pops off the shaft.

I was doing one last row with the action hoe in the next corn bed, when my daughters came out to do the evening watering. My older daughter had finished watering the beds closer to the house with the hose, and when she came to continue watering where I was working, she told me about something awesome she found in the Montana Morado corn.


Our very first corn to start showing silk!

If these are going to be maturing so unevenly, we may need to hand pollinate the silk, just to make sure they do get thoroughly pollinated. It would be pretty hit and miss to rely on the wind to pollinate the corn, when there might be only one or two corn plants ready to be pollinated at a time.

I am so happy that this corn seems to be working out so well!!

Today is supposed to be the last day of our heat wave. After this, we are dropping to more average temperatures. The expected high had been 38C/100C for a while, then it went down a few times. By morning, we were forecasted to hit 34C/93F, which we did hit. I don’t know what the humidex was. The forecasts for thundershowers tomorrow have shown up, disappeared, then showed up again, several times today! As I write this, it’s past 11pm, and we’re still at 28C/82F. The overnight low is expected to be not much cooler, but we are also supposed to get some rain, too.

I’ll believe that when I see it. From the looks of the weather radar, any rain or storms sweeping through are going to go right past us, and hit the city. But if we get even a little bit of rain, I will be happy. Even with all the watering we’ve been doing, twice a day, things are still really dry. I could really see that while weeding. Even at the start of the day, which the ground still looked damp from the previous evening’s watering. While hand weeding among the beets in the old kitchen garden, I had the hose set to mist, so the water would make it easier to pull the weeds out by the roots. I’d already watered the bed before I started weeding, yet when I pulled up the weeds, I could see how dry the soil still was.

When we build our permanent beds, having some sort of watering system would be very useful. We do have sprinklers we can use, but I’d rather have something less wasteful, like a drip system.

But that is something to figure out later. For now, we make do with what we have, and right now, that means watering twice a day with roughly 300 feet of garden hose and watering cans! 😀

The Re-Farmer