Our 2022 garden: harvesting carrots and turnips.

It was a chilly night last night, with temperatures dipping below freezing. As I write this, we’re at 3C/37F – just under our predicted high of the day.

It was actually very pleasant out there!

With a few frosts already past, I decided it was time to harvest the carrots.

This is all of them.

Plus the Purple Prince turnips – the only turnip variety of the three we planted this spring, that survived. Barely. Their greens were constantly munched on by insects. I’m not sure why I even bothered to harvest them. They’re so small, a lot of them got left behind in the bed, then still more went into compost when I trimmed their greens. Not much of a harvest there.

I’m surprised by the Uzbek Golden carrots, which were from a free seed packet. A lot of them were much larger than I expected.

The Black Nebula carrots where more difficult to harvest. Even with several years of amendments, the soil still gets pretty compacted, and these guys get long. It took quite a bit to dig them out!

Well, that didn’t take long… ๐Ÿ˜…

We are expected to dip to -4C/25F tonight, so these needed to be set up indoors to cure – and the only place we had available in the sun room was covered with tomatoes, still.

Thankfully, they are all laid out on screens.

I was able to stack the screens with the tomatoes and gourds, then lay out the trimmed carrots. After a day or two, we’ll brush the dirt off and go over them. Several of the biggest Uzbek Golden carrots have split, but the Black Nebula look like they were a slug favorite. Quite a few had damage at their tops. The size variety among them is pretty surprising. Quite a few of them are really big around! From the photos, I expected long and narrow.

Once we’ve assessed their condition, we’ll decide how best to store or preserve them. I suspect blanching and freezing will be the best option for most of the Black Nebula carrots, while the Uzbeck golden will be kept in the kitchen for fresh eating first.

I haven’t actually tasted any of these yet! We did harvest a few Uzbeck golden for meals over the summer, but almost no Black Nebula, because even the little ones were hard to pull. I hope they taste as good!

The Re-Farmer

I see you!

With the groundhogs having completely torn apart and removed most of the old tarp covering the board pile, the old tire rim that was being used to keep it from blowing away isn’t needed anymore.

The kittens love playing in, under and around it, though, so it stays!

It’s also a secure place where they can watch the giant, food bearing creature that sometimes picks them up and does nice scritchy things to their ears.

I see you!

The Re-Farmer

Can we do it?

While working on breaking down the largest of the branches pruned from the ornamental apples, I heard a cat starting to “talk” loudly. This is something we’ve learned about The Distinguished Guest. He makes noises that sound like he’s talking!

The problem is, the only time he makes those noises is when he’s being aggressive towards another cat.

For the last while, Sad Face has been going after him – and winning. TDG has a nasty scar across his shoulder to show for it. If Sad Face were around, I wouldn’t have been hearing TDG talking. I would have heard an all-out cat fight.

There’s only one cat that is now lower on the pecking order than both of the visiting toms.

Making my way around to the pump shack, I spotted TDG with his fur sticking out like a bottle brush. He ran off as I came close. It took a bit longer to spot Potato Beetle, flattened in the tall grass. He was more than happy for some pets, that’s for sure!

He was also looking very skinny. I knew TDG would go after him again if Potato went for the kibble trays. Thankfully, Potato actually likes being picked up and carried, so I took him to the sun room, where his own personal food and water bowls await him.

He was very, very hungry!!

After topping up the food and refreshing the water, I left him be. When I headed into town to get the mail, I sent a picture of him to the Cat Lady. She has us booked for 2 females for spays and shots on Aug 3, but she had space available for 1 male, too.

If we can keep Potato Beetle in the sun room until then, we can get him to the vet to be neutered at the same time.

That’s just over a week, though. It will not be easy to keep in there for that long. Plus, he’ll need to stay another 4 days for recovery. We’ll also have to keep a close eye on the temperature in there. We aren’t expecting excessive heat for the next while, but it does get quite hot in there. If necessary, we’ll bring out some ice packs or frozen water bottles to help him keep cool.

For now, at least, he’s quite enjoying his own personal sanctuary!

As for the other cats, the girls took care of feeding them again this morning. I had been leaving food by the pump shack for the oldest litter of kittens that’s in there (and possibly a baby skunk…), but they forget that. Which is okay. The kittens are used to eating kibble by now. They’ll be looking for it. Which meant that, when I came out not long after, I spotted an unfamiliar black and white kitty butt, at the tray on the ground beside the kibble house. It ran off when it heard me, which is when I saw the tabby and the tuxedo, hiding in the spirea by the storage house. I did try to get pictures, with no success.

I did, however, get a different kitty!

A very thirsty little kitty!

He seems a bit more skittish around me right now. My managing to pet him and briefly pick him up seems to be something he does not want to happen again – at least for now! Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to try playing with him again, and convince him to let me touch him again.

The Cat Lady has a bead on someone on a farm that is looking for a cat. She was talking about possibly trapping one of the kittens and getting it fixed. I wonder if they’d be okay with an adult cat, instead? Potato Beetle really deserves a better situation than what we can give him, with the visiting toms beating on him.

Frankly, I’d rather the toms went away. ๐Ÿคจ

The Re-Farmer

Cryptid Kitten

Look who I saw today!

This is the black and white kitten from the very first litter we found. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s this one…

We found this one alone in the yard, soaking wet, and no mama around. Likely she dropped him while moving him, then ran off when I came outside. We brought him (her?) in, and my husband kept him warm while we looked around and, eventually, were able to reunite it with its mother.

I am increasingly convinced that, of the 4 kittens in that litter, this may be the only survivor. I know there was a tuxedo in the litter, and a couple of tabby looking kittens, but this is the only older kitten we are seeing.

It’s also incredibly shy and runs off as soon as it sees me, no matter how far away I am. That is why I put some kibble out on the step, and on the ground in front of the grape vines. What I might end up doing is moving one of the smaller kibble containers over by those steps and putting food out there, regularly. The down side of that is, the skunks are more likely to get it before the kitten does.

Well, if it’s a lone survivor or if its siblings are even shier than this one, I hope they will eventually start coming to the kibble house for food. Leaving food farther out for a while will help get them more comfortable coming over.

The Re-Farmer

Brave baby

When putting kibble out this morning, I put the kibble for the kittens on the frame of the sledge under the cat’s house. Partly to entice the kittens a bit further out, and party to not have kibble on damp ground.

Not that it stays there long enough to be an issue.

One of the kittens is much bolder than the others, allowing me to get a bit closer. I still had to zoom in for the photo, but was not so far away that the digital zoom on my camera just messed everything up. ๐Ÿ™‚ It will even sit there and watch me as I move around. For a little while, at least.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitten adventures!

When I headed out to feed the yard cats, I found a rather alarming surprise.

A cold, wet kitten wandering up the side walk and into the equally cold, wet grass!

Not a mother in sight.

We were cold enough to get a few snowflakes this morning. Cold enough that I was wearing my parka and a toque, so of course I picked it up to warm it up.

It did hiss a tiny bit.

Then it started to slither up my neck before burrowing down my shoulder and into my sleeve.

I brought it inside so my husband could help me get it out of my sleeve. I found a super soft winter hat to use as a nest, tucked it into my coat, and went looking around the yard for Mama. There were a number of cats around, but this is one I recognize as Junk Pile’s kittens, from when they were in the cats’ house. I couldn’t see her, anywhere. I had things to do outside, so I returned the kitten to my husband and kept looking while I continued my morning rounds.

I spotted Junk Pile, watching me from the branch pile she’d moved her kittens to, as I went to switch out the memory card on the gate cam.

This is nowhere near where I found the kitten.

With the amount of water and much in between the branch pile and where I found it, it had to have been carried. Was she moving her litter again? Why was it alone in the middle of the yard?

I went and got the kitten again, still carrying it in its next, but Junk Pile was gone when I came back.

With more work to do outside, I had to return the kitten into the tender care of my husband.

The kitten was okay with that.

While I was working in the garden (which I’ll post about separately), I asked the rest of the family to keep an eye out for cats the appeared to be looking for kittens! I was almost finished laying down mulch when one of my daughters came and asked me to come over. She’s seen the mamas eating in the kibble house – Junk Pile and the cat the looks like her that also had her litter in the cats’ house – and brought the kitten over. They sniffed at it, then went away, and the kitten went under the cat’s house. I went over to help, though there wasn’t much I could do. My daughter lay a floor mat on the muddy ground so she could get down and try and see the kitten and maybe get it out. It’s pretty wet under there, too, but from what little my daughter could see, the kitten was able to get on top of the sledge the main part of the cats’ house is sitting on top of. We’ve got bricks under the sledge to keep it off the ground and level it as much as we could, and there would be space under the floorboards, so there’s a fair amount of room under there.

There was no way to reach the kitten.

We decided to watch from a distance. I had only one or two fork fulls of mulch to lay down, so I quickly went to finish that while my daughter stayed to watch. By the time came back around the house, Junk Pile was on the mat that was still by the cats’ house, looking under. Then the other mama came up. Sure enough, the kitten came out to them, and off they went!

We kept watching from a distance as the led the kitten away, with Junk Pile sometimes trying to drag it by the scruff of the neck.

Once in the outer yard, I thought they’d go into the pump shack, but the mamas led the baby behind it, and we could no longer see. They might have found a place for their kittens under the warehouse, or maybe in one of the junk cars out there.

I’m glad we were able to warm up the kitten, then reunite it with is mother – and that the two moms are still sticking together and co-parenting their litters. If they hadn’t come back for it, of course we would have taken it in, but it’s still too young to be weaned. We’d have had to get supplies to be able to feed it.

The kitten was much more mobile, after getting warm and dry! That was good to see, too.

Chances are we won’t see any kittens again until the moms start bringing them to the kibble house. Probably in July. Maybe even August. Then we can see about catching them for adoption. I’ve just been in contact with out Cat Lady, who is currently out of province – someone dumped a pregnant cat at her door while she was gone, and it had its kittens! What is it with people??? Anyhow, she’s been able to procure free spays, and when she comes back, we’ll be working on getting more done and on the adoptions page.

I’m glad the kitten is now safe with its mothers, but I’m also kinda glad we were able to spend some time with it. Maybe, when it’s older, it will have some memory of being safe and warm with humans, and we’ll be able to start socializing it.

The Re-Farmer

Critter of the Day: pretty little boy

Of the two orange kittens outside, one of them is more comfortable around people than the other. He is typically right at the door when I come outside. His brother, on the other hand, tends to keep his distance, or hide under the kibble house.

Not this morning!

He came right over and actually allowed me to pet him!

Such a pretty boy!!

The orange kittens inside are Saffron and Turmeric, so we call them the Spice Girls. We call the outside orange kittens the Spice Boys, but haven’t actually named them. Partly because they move around so much, we haven’t really been able to identify the differences between them to know which is which!

I am thinking we should keep to the spice theme call them Nutmeg and Ginger. ๐Ÿ˜€

Critter(s) of the Day: toe warmer

I was checking out how the cats tuck under the kibble house, where they hide and watch while I do the outside errands. It’s completely clear of snow, but the ground is quite frozen, of course.

After seeing how the cats were doing the cold toes dance yesterday, I decided to go see if I could help them out a bit.

Since we are not using the sun room as a cat shelter this year, we didn’t put the rigid insulation over the windows, leaving plenty of long pieces available. I grabbed one of the sheets, cut it shorter to fit, and tucked it under the kibble house.

One of the spice boys immediately checked it out!

After topping up the bird and deer feed, I found this.

They seem to like not having to sit on the frozen ground! ๐Ÿ˜€

There is a sheet of insulation under the floor boards, so that will help keep their backs a bit warm, too!