We had more rain last night and this morning, and while we have some sun as I’m writing this, we’re expected to have more rain and thunderstorms tonight.
The plants and trees are loving it!
The lilacs near the house are so heavy with clusters of flowers, the branches are bowing down with the weight, to the point that even short little me has to duck to go under them!
This is our fifth spring here, and I’ve never seen the white lilacs blooming and well as this year.
The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden had to recover from storm damage a couple of years ago, then the late May killer frost last year. It’s been a while since these have bloomed so heavily!
The nearby honeysuckle did all right last year, as they start budding later than things like the lilacs and did not get affected by the last frost as much, and it looks like this year they will do even better.
Even the hawthorn, which is thoroughly shaded, is blooming.
After uploading the photo, I could see that it has some sort of insect infestation under some of the leaves!
Also, just look at that thorn! Yikes!
Shrubs aren’t the only thing we’ve got blooming right now.
Yes! We have blooming tomatoes! These would be the Sophie’s Choice, which we started very early indoors, then restarted after the seedlings got eaten by cats. An early start was recommended for this variety, even though it is a short season variety, so I’m not too surprised to see flowers on these ones. To see them so soon after transplanting, though, is rather awesome!
While checking the various garden beds, I could finally see the purple carrots are starting to sprout. They’re still very hard to see, but they are making an appearance. The yellow Uzbek carrots are being much more enthusiastic about sprouting! I can’t tell about the Napoli and Kyoto Red planted near the south fence. They were pelleted seeds, so we could space them further apart, which makes it harder to see if those tiny leaflets are carrot, or some weed!
The peas that had already sprouted at the trellis are getting noticeably bigger. In the old kitchen garden, I’m finally seeing some beets, though for all my efforts to pull up and transplant the mint out from the bed last fall, they are still coming up strong, along with some other weeds. The beet seedlings are too tiny and delicate to risk disturbing them while trying to weed.
In the lettuce bed, the buttercrunch lettuce germinated a while back and it won’t be long before we are able to start harvesting baby leaves while thinning the rows. Another variety, Lunix, if I remember correctly, as also started to sprout, but like the beet bed, efforts to pull up the weed roots were not very successful. My mother had planted some very invasive flowers in this bed, and they are incredibly difficult to get under control!
The Kulli corn is still looking a weak, but the bush beans planted with them are starting to come up! I’ve got arrows pointing to the bean seedlings that are in this photo.
Meanwhile, all around the various beds, we’ve got onion sets coming up, and the onions started from seed seem to have all survived and are getting stronger. All of the transplants seem to have not only survived being transplanted, but are handling the heavy rains we’ve had, just fine. The first spinach that was planted are growing their true leaves now, and it won’t be long before we will be having fresh greens to eat!
I am so looking forward to when my morning rounds will start to include harvesting fresh leafy greens, beans, peas and summer squash, regularly again!
My mother’s “living fence” has a row of hawthorns (you can see some of their berries) on one side, and a mix of caragana and oak on the other. I got a picture of a larger oak at the far end of the row of trees, with elms above it. The crab apple tree is one of the ones in the West yard. The apples do not taste very good, but the deer and birds will enjoy them. There is also the linden tree, all yellow, while the currant leaves (which I thought were gooseberry at first) are lovely shades of red.
Today started off very well, so I’ll start with that, too!
I’m happy to say that the new bed has made a huge difference. There must be something about no longer being so close to the floor, because I slept like a rock – for almost 11 hours!
Which meant I got a late start to doing my morning routine.
The kittens were in fine form this morning!
They found perfectly kitten sized places to hang out, about it all!
These little nooks exist only because the area under the entryway was walled off to make the root cellar. The ceiling there is slightly lower than the rest of the basement, so the top ledge there is actually level with the entryway floor, while below is the root cellar wall.
The upstairs cats wanted to play, too.
In the one photo, you can see David’s nose – and the glowing eye of another cat!
I’m going to have to delay doing the kitten stuff until there are others available to come down at the same time. Saffron and Turmeric got upstairs before I could close the door, while David, Cheddar and Two Face made it downstairs. While wrestling her kittens downstairs, Beep Beep went up and stayed there. I only saw three kittens, though, so I started looking around for Leyendecker and Big Rig. I realized Leyendecker had also snuck upstairs, when I saw tiny little black and white paws going past – right about where you can see David’s nose in the above photos. 😀 So I got him down, but I still couldn’t find Big Rig. I feared she may have gotten into the old part basement, but after some searching, my daughter found her curled up asleep, under the bed frame. The box my husband’s computer came in had a cardboard divided that fits under there perfectly, and they use it to sleep in. I’d pulled it out, but apparently not enough, and never saw her. I felt no weight, and didn’t think to pull it out all the way! It was a relief to find her. Once we managed to get the adult cats out, we were able to treat the babies with some wet cat food, then persuade Beep Beep to come down again.
Once outside, I was joined by Creamsicle and Butterscotch.
Lots of things are blooming now.
More wild roses are blooming now.
I also checked on, and counted, the sunflowers.
I counted 30 this morning, with some having just broken ground. We also lost more; in one spot where I was sure there was a seedling growing, I checked more closely, and found the remains of a stem. 😦
I was very happy to find this. Last year, I spotted two little bunches of red berries on this bush. Using the magic of the internet, it turns out to be a cranberry bush.
It was not planted there deliberately.
This is another of the things that are getting more light, after I cleared away trees from the fence line. Last year, that resulted in this bush having just a few berries. This year, it is covered with clusters like this! I am thrilled to see them!
These are tiny wild strawberries growing at the base of a dead tree in the maple grove. We need to be weeded with great care, as the other growth is so close, it’s hard to pull them up, without also pulling up the strawberries.
This will require a lot of time set aside (after being liberally covered in bug spray) for delicate weeding. At some point, I’d like to transplant them to a better location, but transplant wild strawberries is another delicate thing!
I don’t know what these flowers are, but I really like them! Near them are some lilies that are full of buds.
The hawthorn my mother planted as a “living fence” bloomed so fast, I missed it! Berries are starting to form now.
I’ve read that hawthorn berries are edible. We might try something with them, one of these days.
My mother’s white roses and double lilacs planted near the old kitchen and sun room as looking good. The lilacs are almost done their blooming time, but the roses are just covered with buds!
After making sure it was okay with my mother first, checking to make sure there was nothing she wanted saved, I completely covered and mulched the old kitchen garden, two years ago. You can see what it was like when we started here (back when I thought the ornamental apple trees were cherry trees, because that’s where the original cherry tree had been planted, years before). As I cleaned up, you can see in this post, just how much the above flower had spread all over. I got it to the point where I could lay down a layer of cardboard, and finally cover it all in mulch. The idea was to basically kill off what was already growing there (especially the invasive vines we were finding all over the place!), and eventually use the space to grow vegetables and herbs that we use most.
After I finished all that, my mother suddenly started talking about some blue flowers that were there that she wanted me to keep, because they reminded her of flower that grew in Poland, when she was a child. I reminded her that she’d given me the okay to get rid of everything! Still, some things have worked their way through the mulch, including her little blue flowers, so she was happy to see them and asked me to save some. Which I can do. 🙂
After I’d finished my rounds, I called my mother, then went to help her do a grocery shopping trip. That went quite well, and I was happy to be able to help her stock up on the bigger items she would normally have to pay to get delivered.
It was when I got home that things started to go wrong.
I had just driven through the gate and stopped the van so I could close it again, when I saw someone in my rear view mirror.
It was our vandal.
He’d seen me go by and came over.
He then proceeded to yell verbal abuse at me – all while recording me closing and locking the gate – from where he stood. I just ignored him while taking care of the gate, and he eventually just walked away, but he was yelling loud enough that the girls came out to see what was going on.
Based on past experience, from long before we moved out here, I knew I had to sit down and write down exactly what happened to record it. While I was in the middle of that, I got a call from my brother. It seems our vandal went straight from hurling verbal abuse at me, to calling my brother – who was at work – and verbally abusing him. There were things he said to both of us, though, that got us wondering about a triggering event. Once I had the chance, I called my mother.
Sure enough, it went back to her. He had left another abusive message on her answering machine, and she made the mistake of calling him back. She’d left a message, basically asking what he wanted from her, and they ended up speaking in person. He told her that he wanted to sell the farm and split up the money, part of which he believes he is entitled to. The farm, however, is supposed to stay in the family name, and that’s why she transferred the ownership to my brother. We had been trying to keep that quiet, but it’s public knowledge now. We have the same arrangement with my brother that we had with my mother. We are taking care of the place for him. So now we know, by his own words, that our vandal was pressuring my parents to change their wills for years, just so he could sell the farm to line his pockets.
This revelation explains why he started showing up recently on the trail cams, giving us the finger. He thinks something has been taken from him. I’m still a target, since we live here, and he believes the things that are here belong to him. Of course, he’s got his own place, so there is no reason anything of his should be here. He’s also the reason so many things disappeared over the years, and especially while the place was empty for 2 years.
Now that he knows about the transfer of ownership, it’s hard to say how he will continue his harassment. At least when it came to ownership of the farm, there was some predictability. Now that he knows the farm belongs to my brother, not my mother, he’s going to be coming up with something new. The only thing we can be sure of, is that he won’t stop. He’s become obsessed with this place, and my family living here.
Ah, well. It’s still better than what we left behind by moving here. We just have to worry about one crazy person, now.
Last summer, while going around the property with my older brother, we had gone into an area filled with rocks and blocks of concrete and all sorts of bushes growing among them. My brother remembered that there were hazelnut bushes there. We didn’t find any, but I decided to check it out again, in case something managed to grow this year.