Morning in the garden

Oh, what a tiny little harvest this morning. 😁

I went ahead and picked our single patty pan squash. It’s supposed to be all yellow. This is the size we like them at best. Summer squash are supposed to be more productive the more you pick them, but right now, I’m not even seeing any more female flowers.

This is the most raspberries we’ve had yet. Usually, I get to pick one or two in the mornings, and that’s it.

I also found a single shelling pea that was filled enough to pick.

I ate it.

It was tasty. 😊

We are actually going to have cherries this year! We’re going to need a ladder to pick them, though. They’re almost all only at the highest branches!

While puttering around the yard and gardens – and enjoying the fact that I can walk through the maple grove again, I kept hearing a constant buzzing noise. It sounded like I was hearing thousands of bees up in the trees, but I couldn’t see them.

I figured it out, though. It’s that time of year!

The linden tree is in peak blooming time now, and was the source of the buzzing!

Not a lot of flowers are on the lower branches, but even they were full of insects.

Turn your volume up to watch this. The microphone didn’t actually pick it up very well – it was MUCH louder in real life!

This would be the idea time to harvest the flowers, but honestly… I don’t know if I’d want to get in the middle of all those insects! Not all of them will be stinging insects, of course, but with how much they’re constantly moving around, there’s always going to be at least some nearby! When I was in my early teens, I remember harvesting the flowers for my mother by standing on a ladder and dropping them onto a sheet on the ground below.

The tree is much, much bigger now. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Fall colours

It’s looking really gorgeous out there!

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.

The Re-Farmer

More growing things

While investigating the sounds of the visiting toms asserting their dominance this morning, another noise caught my attention.

A deep, continuous buzzing noise.

This is the linden tree, looking slightly paler than usual. That is because the upper branches are blooming, and there are so many flowers, you can see them more than the leaves. Pollinators love linden blossoms and, even from the ground, I could see constant movement of little black dots of insects. I tried to take some video, hoping to capture the sound, but there was too much wind. The digital zoom didn’t do well in capturing the insects, though when I uploaded it and tried watching it on the big screen, I realized I’d caught at least 2, maybe 3, hummingbirds!

Lower down, there are almost no blossoms at all. If we wanted to harvest the flowers, we would probably need a step ladder taller than what we’ve got and, frankly, it wouldn’t be safe to do it.

Ah, well.

Since I’m supposed to stay off my feet to let my toe heal (I’m not very good at that!), my daughters did the rest of the rounds for me. They found me a little present.

Our first ripe raspberries! 😀

They’d eaten some and brought some for me. The few raspberry bushes we have, have not grown well this year even though I did try to keep them watered as much as I could. Being shaded by an apple and a chokecherry tree isn’t helping either; they should be getting a lot more sun to produce well. I don’t expect to be getting more than a small handful at a time.

Even a little bit is nice, though. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: after

I have just finished working on the bushes in the west yard, near the fire pit, for the day.  It’s not finished, but there is a storm moving in, and I did get the big stuff done.

So I have after pictures I can show you.

I actually went deeper in then I’d intended to.  I started in the area around the linden and plum trees, to get more dead branches down, and everything was getting so hung up, I had to go further in, just to stop that from happening.

In the process, I found the lilacs that used to form a tunnel I’d crawled into as a child.


Yeah.  Most of the lilacs are dead.

Between these and the tree directly behind the linden tree, there was just no way to avoid getting hung up on dead branches.

Here is the after, for this area.


Still lots to clean up, but the dead stuff is mostly gone.  The remains of the lilacs might actually survive.  They are very hardy.

Here is what it looked like around the linden tree, when I finished up.


Then I started working my way down the rows.

Here is the before of the first section;


I believe this is another crab apple tree, and it looks like it has some sort of fungal disease.  I cut away lots.  Here is it, now.


I freed up more plum trees in the process.

There are still signs of spotted and yellowing leaves higher up in the apple tree, but I got as much as I could reach for now.

While working in between the rows (there are three rows in total, in this location), if I had to choose between getting rid of a caragana and something else, or a false spirea and something else, I would choose the something else.  This was not a difficult thing as, in the process, as the “something else” was usually a fruit tree.  I also found a giant caragana in the back row.  Unfortunately, the biggest trunk of it was dead and so rotten, I broke it off and yanked it out without having to cut anything.

In fact, I was doing that a lot, today.  Yanking stuff out right by the roots, or breaking them and pulling them out.

The next section has a dead tree in it.  Here is what it looked like before.


There was a lot of false spirea around the base of it.  In clearing that out…


… I freed up some more plum trees.

That dead tree is going to need more than the little hand saw to take it down! So it stays, for now.  Though I was able to just break a branch off of it.

Next was another crab apple tree.


This one has a lot of tiny apples starting to grow on it, but it also is starting to show spots on the leaves. 😦

Also, a lot more of it was dead then I thought!


I was taking out lots of dead branches, and even a couple of trunks.

Like this one.

This is probably the biggest thing I cleaned out today.  It wasn’t until I cut it, then started dragging it out, that I realized how big it was, so much was hidden among the branches.

There is still lots to do here, including clearing out the section of false spirea at the end, so I can reach the dead lilacs behind it.  It’s going to be a while before all the bits of dead branches and twigs on the ground are cleaned up, though I did take out the hidden ones I found by stepping on them.

All of this was about 3 hours of work, give or take.

When I was a kid and mowing the lawn in this area, when the crab apples at the end of the row were full of fruit, I would pick a whole bunch of them when I went under it,  I would eat them as I mowed my circuit, then gather more when I got back.  They were small, hard green apples, and very sour.  I loved them!

We also had a pear tree next to this crab apple tree.  It was another small, hard variety.  My father told me about having this variety when he was growing up in Poland.  They were too hard to eat as they were, but they would be gathered and buried under rocks in the fall.  In the winter, they would freeze.  Later, the rocks would be removed, and the frozen pears taken out.  The freezing not only softened them, but made them sweet, as well.

I have no idea what happened to that tree.

I also wonder what happened to the mountain ash (aka rowan) that used to be here, about were the current diseased apple tree is. We had a few of them.  They never got very big; nothing like the ones in the city we just moved from – I had no idea they got that big until we started living there!  But they were beautiful, and produced masses of red berries.

A lot has changed over the years we’ve been away, but a surprising amount has stayed the same, too.

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: at the linden tree

Since we are starting to use the fire pit area fairly regularly, and plan to use it more, I decided to start cleaning up the next area of trees and bushes nearby.  There is a linden tree at the end of a row that I wanted to clear the base of, but before I could get to it, I started clearing at a plum tree next to it.

I forgot to take a before picture, but here is how it looked before I started on the linden tree.


The poor plum tree is really struggling.  It was being choked out by a caragana that I cut away, and has a lot of dead and dying branches.  I am hoping, as things are cleared out, it will become stronger.

It does have baby plums, though!

This variety of plums have very small, hard red fruit.  Not much good for eating, but I remember my dad had made wine with them.  I was pretty young and probably never got a taste of it, but I seem to remember it being quite enjoyed by the adults.


This is the pile I started, with the dead wood from around the plum tree, the caragana that was crowding it, and the first sucker from the linden tree that I’d cut away.


Here is a before picture of the linden tree.  You can’t even tell I’ve already cut some away.

My mother told me that, before she moved away from the farm, she kept the base of the linden tree clear of suckers, so I will continue that.  It has clearly been many years since they’ve been cleared away!  Some were huge and lying on the ground long enough to be partly buried in decayed leaves.

Linden wood, I discovered, is incredibly soft.  I was able to saw through the suckers like they were barely there!  In one group, because of how close they were, I ended up cutting three of them at the same time, and it was still easy to saw through them all!

I also found a lot of dead branches stuck among the suckers, and others handing above.  The bottom branches of the main truck were also either dead or mostly dead, hidden away by the foliage from the suckers growing below.

Once I started cutting I could see, at the base of the trunk, where my mother had been cutting away over the years.

Here is how it looks now.


I probably shouldn’t have, but I did leave one sucker be, just trimming away some of the lower branches.  Unlike the other ones, this one was growing upwards and straight.

Aside from cutting away self-sown mystery saplings among the debris, this is just the difference of cutting away the suckers and taking out the deadwood.  Later, I plan to take a rake to it and get the bits of branches and twigs left behind, then take the weed trimmer to it.

There is a bush directly behind it that is looking like it has a lot of deadwood on it, but I won’t start working back there, quite yet.


I had started out trying to keep the deadwood and the green wood in separate piles, but after a while, just gave up!  We will sort through it as we break it down and move it elsewhere.

Our piles for the fire pit are getting a bit big!


This is our “small stuff” pile.  Twigs and small branches, mostly.  Just today, I added more deadwood that I’d pulled down from the area behind the other house.  I wasn’t up to breaking them down, first.


Then there are the bigger logs, including some that have been cut to fire pit length.  On the far left of the photo are a bunch of logs I’d cut from the big dead branch I’d cut free from one of the nearby maples.  It was one of the things I had to clean up before I could mow.  I didn’t even break it all down; just enough to more easily move the top length to the “small stuff” pile.

The branch I’d found at the fence line earlier, I just left at the fence line for now.  We are adding deadwood faster than we are using it for fuel for our wiener roasts, and the “small stuff” pile is getting too big!  As for the greenwood, I don’t even know where we’re going to put those, for now.  I don’t want to add much more to the pile by the log cabin, and the one by the garage is pretty huge.

Maybe if I can get that gate by the fire pit open, we can start another greenwood pile outside the yard, closer to where I’m actually working.

It doesn’t take much to make a big difference!

The Re-Farmer

An Awesome Day, and growth explosion

Today, all four of us made it into the city for a family get together.  It made for a very long and painful day for my husband, but he hasn’t seen his sister in 4 years.  She flies home soon, so he wasn’t about to miss this chance.  It was so great to see everyone and spend time with them.  It is a rare thing for everyone to be together at the same time, these days.

With all this wonderful rain we’ve been having, it’s just fantastic to see everything so GREEN, everywhere.  Even the drive into the city looked completely different.


A short time ago, the trees were just showing green leaves, while everything else looked like the dead growth from last year that you can still see in the ditch.  Now, it’s like the trees all just exploded in green.

(Also, I’m amused by the fact that there is a reflection of me driving, hovering in the sky. 😀 )

When we got home, we found all sorts of cats had missed our company!

The inside cats were very curious about Nasty Crime boy.


It was a shared curiosity! 😀

I’m loving the long daylight hours, too.  Though we didn’t get home until past 8pm, there was still plenty of light, so I did a quick walk around the yard to see how things were.


The crab apple trees north of the spruce grove are finally blooming.  My sister and her husband pruned them back quite heavily last summer, but I can see that there are some dead branches that will need to be cut away.  These might have died off over the winter.


A few days ago, these linden leaves were just barely new leaf buds!

I had a chance to ask my mother about the linden tree, because it looks so different than I remember it.  So much so that, until the leaves unfurled, it looked like two different trees!  She told me that she used to cut back the suckers every year, but no one continued that after she went to the senior’s centre she now lives in.  That would explain why they look so different.  The growth at the base – where these leaves are – is only about 4-5 years old, whereas the trunk in the middle is more like 30-35 years old.

These lilies had been showing in green clusters but after the rain, they shot up several inches and threw out flower stocks and buds virtually overnight!

Rolando Moon approves.

I also did a basement check this evening, and the old part basement is bone dry, though there is some water in the sump pump reservoir.  Well below the level of the float.

We still need to get the old hot water tank out of there.  It’s much bigger and heavier than modern ones!

I was just thinking, as I wrote this, how I can’t remember the last time the old part basement was still dry this far into spring, and I remembered one year when it flooded.  This had to have happened before the new part was built, so I was probably about 6 years old, give or take a year or two.  I remember going part way down the stairs to see.  The water was a couple of feet deep – deep enough to cover several steps – and perfectly clean and clear.

Then, as I was looking, a frog went swimming past the bottom of the stairs!

I will never forget that frog! 😀

I hadn’t thought of that in years!

Funny how things trigger old memories of growing up in this house. 🙂

The Re-Farmer