New eyes

Almost 2 years ago, I found this video from the 2014 National Heirloom Expo, showing 300 varieties of squash on display. At the time, while watching it, my thoughts were along the lines of, “wow! Look at all those cool squash!”

While trying to find information about specific squash varieties, I stumbled on the video again and found myself watching it with new eyes. Last summer, we tried growing so many different types of squash, and I had been researching so many others, I found myself surprised by how many I now recognized.

Right near the beginning, there was a display of pumpkins I recognised and, sure enough, they were Lady Godiva hulless pumpkins. I was rather happy to see that our own Lady Godivas that we harvested were pretty close in size to what is in the video. For all the set backs, they actually did reach, or come very close to, their full potential.

There were several displays of Boston Marrow, and ours didn’t come anywhere near their full potential! I knew they didn’t, but it was by a lot more than I thought.

The nest egg gourds in the display were just like ours, though! I’m going to have to break one open to collect seeds to start indoors.

I recognised others from varieties we tried to grow but failed completely, and got to see what they would have looked like, had 2022 been a good growing year. Still others I remember looking at in catalogs and websites, trying to decide whether or not to get their seeds. Of course, I found myself keeping an eye out for others we’d grown or tried to grow, but not all of them were there. It’s pretty amazing, how many varieties of squash there are!

I started watching the video while searching for information of growing Crespo squash and kulli corn. There is very little information about kulli corn out there. I’m still trying to figure out why ours never even started to develop cobs. From what I did find, it has a 100 day growing season. That’s cutting it close for us, but not by much, and I’d started them indoors to make up for it. I do want to try them again, but probably not this year.

As for the Crespo squash, all I’m finding is a few – very few! – seed sources, before the hits are just generic squash links. If I look at images, I find my own pictures from the first year we tried to grow them! Other pictures come up that are labelled Crespo squash, but they look completely different.

Well, hopefully as we try growing them again and write about them in this blog, it will be helpful to others, trying to find information!

The Re-Farmer

Snow perspective

The freezing rain we got yesterday didn’t last long – at least not here. I was expecting the heaviest part of the system to be pushed to the south of us, but instead it was to the north of us, and they got quite a bit more rain and ice pellets.

We were clear for a while, then it started snowing during the night. All night, apparently. It was a lot deeper than I expected, when I came out this morning!

This handsome fella gives it a bit of perspective. I had mostly cleared the cat house roof of snow previously. You can see the warm spot over the ceramic heat bulb! There’s kibble buried under there, and it looks like cats were digging for it. Considering that there was still kibble in most of the food trays, I think maybe they wanted not-frozen kibble? When I shoveled most of the snow off again, I uncovered some of the kibble, and one of the cats was immediately up there, eating kibble out of the snow/slush by the warm spot.

Another perspective shot. This is accumulated snow on the kibble house roof, not just one night. It’s deeper than the height of my kibble container.

Those popcorn containers are the handiest things. The plastic is food safe and super strong.

I had to dig out around the cat shelters before I could finish putting out the kibble and topping up the heated water bowls. The snow seemed to drift right in space in the middle, and even in front of the entry to the cat house, which is probably the most sheltered space, with two overhanging roofs to protect it.

After that, I had to dig my way out of the yard, and a path to the garage. I am so thankful for our neighbour clearing our driveway yesterday! It’s still quite passable, even with the new snow. Of course, snow blown off the garage roof drifted right in front of all the doors, so I cleared a path in front of those. We can now access the side where little Spewie is stored.

We were supposed to reach a high of -6C/21F today, but apparently we’ve already passed it. We’re supposed to cool down slowly through the night, then get a high of -14C/7F tomorrow. After that, we’ll be warming up again. Very mild and pleasant for this time of year. Previous predictions of snow over several days have changed, and now there is no new snow expected for some time. Looks like we got what was expected to fall over several days, all in one night, instead.

We never heard back about the financing for the replacement vehicle yesterday. I will wait until about noon before I try calling the garage to see of they got the answer. I suspect not getting a call means we got turned down for financing. That would be disappointing, but not surprising. The shift to long term disability and losing 40% of my husband’s income ended up messing with his credit score quite a bit – and since neither of us have credit cards, nor any debt other than dipping into my overdraft now and then, we’re not building our credit scores back up again, either.

Well, we shall see.

It sure would be nice to have a reliable vehicle again!

The Re-Farmer

Cold, but the kitties are okay, and meandering thoughts

We did eventually warm up to our predicted high of -12C/10F, though it came with wind chills colder than -20C/-4F at times.

When I fed the yard cats in the morning, I counted “only” 24 or 25, including the bitty baby – who never came outside!

You can just make him out through the frost, near the bottom of the window.

Thankfully, the south yard is pretty sheltered from the winds coming mostly from the north. Though we had blowing snow all night, there wasn’t anywhere near as much on the ground as it had looked like there should be. I started shovelling the more sheltered walkways, then got a bit carried away.

I used the tire tracks from when I lasted back up to the house as a guide for where to clear away the snow. You can even see the packed down snow under the tire tracks. I didn’t feel like bringing out the ice chipper to break those up, and the shovel I was using already has a crack in it, so I wasn’t going to bash around with it any more than I had to.

As we warm up over the next week, things should actually start melting a bit, and I want these high traffic areas to clear away completely. I think tomorrow, I’ll keep working to clear the space we use to drive into the yard and turn the vehicle around. I’ll leave the paths around the house, and the fire pit, for the girls to do. They’re planning on getting the fire pit going, just because they can, in the near future.

Meanwhile…

Not too long ago, I was outside again and did the evening feeding.

I counted 30 this time, including the bitty baby. He was in the larger window by himself, and even tried to play with me through it, before going to the entry where the food tray is. He never came out, but he’ll have to if he wants the water. If he had come out, I probably would have snagged him and brought him inside. To be honest, though, the next youngest litter of kittens, being all short haired, are probably colder than he is! It isn’t stopping them from playing in the snow, so their undercoats must be well developed for the winter already.

As I write this, it’s -13C/9F, and that’s as cold as we’re supposed to get, including overnight lows, for at least the next 10 days. In fact, the forecast has changed to predict even milder temperatures than before!

Not only are they now predicting three days with highs of 0C/32F, but we’re looking at 3C/37F a week from now! The last time I saw temperatures that high was in the long range forecast, in December.

Of course, it depends on which app I look at. Another app I have shows the first two of those 0C days as reaching 1C/34F, while another shows two days at 0C, then lower temperatures than in the image, though the Saturday is still supposed to be above freezing. All of them are predicting conditions well within average, though.

There is a saying, that a man with two watches, never knows the time. It’s much the same having multiple weather apps! Each company is linked to different data sources, so while one of them might be linked to data from the weather station at the nearest town to the west of us (one that is much closer to the lake, where conditions can be very different from where we are) another might be linked with a station to the north of us (which would probably be the one with conditions closest to what we get here, even though that station would be further away than the others), and yet another might be linked to a station to the south of us.

Well, at least between them all, it gives us a general idea of what to expect. I had been hoping that we might have the roofers coming out during that warm spell we’re supposed to get, but now I’m not so sure. My brother wanted to be here while they are here, and he’s the one that has Power of Attorney for our mother, to make sure they get paid – something my mother would have difficulty understanding how to do anymore. However, he and his wife are currently out of province due to a medical emergency. I got a call from them while they were still on the road, but they should have arrived by now. Hopefully, all will go well, and they will be coming home soon, but I know that they will want to stay there as long as possible, to be able to help. There is going to be a long road to recovery involved. My SIL might be able to stay longer, at least, as she is now officially retired, but not my brother. We are definitely keeping them all in our prayers right now! At least the roads should be good and they should have safe driving.

With my husband’s health, we are well aware of how suddenly everything can be turned upside down. All it takes is a moment. A car accident. A trip and fall. A heart attack or stroke. A bad reaction to medication. One moment, you’re able bodied and doing fine. The next… you’re not. A friend of mine in the disabled community has a term she uses for those who aren’t disabled: TABs. Temporarily Able Bodied. She says it tongue in cheek, but really, she’s right. At some point, we’re all going to start having issues, even if is just from getting old and the body wearing out. Not something we tend to think about while in our prime. For us, after all we’ve been through, we now work on the assumption at, at some point, we’re going to be dealing with stuff like this even more than we are now. So when we plan things like garden beds, or chicken coops, or repairing/replacing sidewalks and doorways, accessibility and mobility needs are part of the plan. I mean, yeah, I can slap together a perfectly functional chicken coop rather quickly, but what good is that, if we don’t have the mobility to get in and clean it? It takes longer to get things done, but at least when they do get done, it’ll be with “age in place” and future mobility needs in mind.

This house will never be fully accessible, though, which is why our long term plans include the possibility of building a smaller, fully accessible, house for my husband and I, while also acknowledging that at some point, we might simply not be able to live here anymore. We may have to move into a place like where my mother lives – but even her building is not fully accessible! They dropped the ball when designing that place, that’s for sure.

I’m digressing, to be sure, and yet this is all very much a part of things we have to think about. What we do with this place now is setting up for the future, for when our daughters will take over and, eventually, my nephew’s sons inherit the property. But even that isn’t written in stone.

Nothing ever is, is it?

The Re-Farmer

Anniversary

Well, here it is.

Today is the 5th anniversary of all four of us finally being here at the farm today.

I can’t say “moved in”, since we had to put our stuff in storage for almost a month, but aside from that, it was done. We were here!

One of the things we did after spending some time assessing what we’d gotten into, as best we could at the time, was come up with a 5 year plan for what we wanted to accomplish, where we wanted to focus on, and a time line to shoot for.

Boy, did that ever get changed along the way!

Originally, the first two years were going to focus on clearing and cleaning the inner yard. Year one was going to be particularly focused on the maple grove to the west of the house, then year two would see us finish fixing up the inner yard with a focus on the spruce grove. Year three, we would continue working on the spruce grove, but also start moving more focus into the outer yard. By year five, we expected to be able to finish the outer yard. Through all this time, we were also going to work on where we wanted to put in gardens, and year five was going to be our first actual gardening year.

After year five, the inner and outer yards would be done, we could start planting gardens, and also start moving beyond the outer yard to start dealing with things like the car graveyard, junk piles, and so on.

Along the way, as things were cleared and cleaned up, we also kept our minds on where we wanted to plant fruit and nut trees, and other such permanent things.

Well… year one went pretty much to plan.

We got the old kitchen garden cleaned up and started to amend the soil with layers of cardboard, straw, leaves and whatever other organic material we could get.

We got the maple grove cleared and cleaned up. It still feels great to be able to walk through there again!

We got a lot done around the fire pit area and the west yard in general. It took months, and so much progress was made! We even were able to work on the perimeter of the spruce grove, and open things up.

In year two, the clean up continued, and I think it was around then that it became clear we would not be finishing the inner yard – more specifically, the spruce grove – as planned. In fact, we still haven’t finished the spruce grove, and won’t for some time. It’s a much bigger job than expected, and there are a large number of dead spruce trees that need to be cut down.

We did, however, start preparing our first garden area. We also got the retaining wall built at the end of the old kitchen garden. The clean up continued, inside and out, with quite a bit of storm damage to deal with when a blizzard hit us in October. I think the biggest accomplishment was getting that old wood pile area cleaned up – an area that uncovered some of the best soil in the yard.

A lot of work got done in our second year, but for our third year, our focus had to shift. There was no way we were going to be done with the inner yard, though we would have to do more in the outer yard at the same time. Things were getting pretty loosey goosey with our plans.

We still got a lot done. It just didn’t feel like we made much progress.

But, we got a garden in, with squash planted in the bed we’d prepared the year before, new beds made for potatoes, and the old wood pile area became a new garden, too. Our first year gardening was ahead of schedule – and right about the time when suddenly everyone else was starting to garden, too, thanks to the lockdowns and restrictions. We did repairs, patch jobs and replacements. General clean up in the yards continued, and we even got some bulbs planted. Hundreds of them!

Among the more difficult things we had to deal with was my husband’s health. In 2019, he ended up in the emergency room. Things got worse, and he later ended up in the hospital for about three weeks. It wasn’t until 2020 that he finally got into the pain clinic – after 2 years on the waiting list. That was difficult enough, since we were still under lockdowns and restrictions, but the whole thing was really a waste of time. Much like his visits with the cardiac clinic. After all that, right now, he barely even sees our GP, and the last time he had a phone appointment with the cardiac clinic, they never called. I think they’re pissed off at him for refusing to drive all the way to the city so they can make him sit in the waiting room, in pain, until he finally walks out without ever being seen. That’s one down side about moving back to our home province. The health care here is a lot worse than our previous province – though from what I’ve heard, things have gone seriously down hill over there, since we left.

For a lot of people, 2020 was the year from hell. My younger daughter ended up leaving her job at the pharmacy, but at least we had my husband’s disability income unchanged, unlike so many others. Being here on the farm meant very little actually changed for us. Our regular stock up trips and most other outings eventually became just me. I can’t wear a mask and had to deal with a lot of issues, since most places ignored the medical exemptions, never mind the fact that the mandates were illegal in the first place. We basically put our heads down and did the best we could, and counted our blessings.

One thing that did become clear is that we needed to step up on our long term goal of being as self sufficient as possible. Gardening became a higher priority. Our first winters here showed that we also needed to focus on having a stockpile of necessities in case we’re snowed in, etc. Getting chickens and, eventually, other food animals also had to be bumped up the priority list, though plans to build a chicken coop and brooder keep getting foiled.

We did have some fun things happen, though – like having a herd of goats show up at our place! One of which stayed for quite some time. In the end, I just walked over to the owner’s place with a bucket of feed, and the goat followed me.

I think most of us would like to forget 2020 happened, and had high hopes for 2021.

Except 2021 didn’t turn out any better. The illegal restrictions and mandates continued, people continued to have their health and lives destroyed, and we continued to try to keep our heads down and stick to our hermitage as much as possible.

Focus was once again on the garden, which required some creativity, and it was a difficult growing year. It started out well enough, with an early spring that had all sorts of trees blooming. It was very tempting to plant early, and some things, like a mulberry tree sapling we bought, did get planted as appropriate for our climate zone. Then one exceptionally cold night in May killed off so much. That year we had no crab apples, no saskatoons, no chokecherries, and the poor mulberry got killed off.

We expanded the garden by a lot, and it was a constant battle. Drought and heat waves meant watering the garden plots pretty much every day, twice a day. It also meant struggling to protect our garden from hungry and thirsty animals, with deer and groundhogs doing the most damage. We had to watch for racoons, too, though they were more interested in the bird seed and cat food than the garden. And yet, we managed to get a decent amount out of it.

We had plenty of other things to deal with, from van and door fixes, and even tire blow outs, to cat fixes! (Ginger is doing just fine now, and the missing leg isn’t slowing him down at all!) We got more clean up and improvements done around the yards, such as this path we added in the old kitchen garden. We even added to our longer term goals, and I hope to start working on these ones, next year or maybe the year after.

Again, we got a lot done, with all sorts of projects, but it didn’t feel like we made forward progress, other than in the garden.

Then there’s 2022.

Our fifth year here.

I’ll be doing future posts about how the year went, including a gardening review and goal setting, like I did for 2021, so I won’t get into that too much, now.

It did turn out to be another rough year, though after 2021, I don’t think a lot of people expected 2022 to be better. Despite the fact that data around the world has shown that the illegal restrictions and mandates not only didn’t work, but made things worse, our own dictatorial government is talking about bringing them back for this winter. Supply chain problems and increased inflation has been devastating to so many and, being on a fixed income, we’re certainly feeling it, too.

Through we did not have to deal with drought and heat waves this year, we did get a long, drawn out winter, followed by flooding that washed out roads around us in all directions, and more water in our yard than I’ve ever seen before, even when I was a kid growing up here. We did get long term progress done, with finally planting berry bushes and trees.

We expanded the garden so much this year and planted so many different things, we did not have to fight critter damage like last year, and yet we had a much worse growing year than the year before. Over all, I feel like we didn’t really make much forward progress at all, in any area. In fact, in some areas, we’re falling behind. We’ve got aging outbuildings collapsing or falling apart, and no way to replace them. We need to replace our van, as it’s really not worth fixing up anymore, but that’s out of reach now, too. About the only really good thing is that our vandal’s vexatious litigation against us, in response to our getting a restraining order against him approved, finally got thrown out and he didn’t appeal, so we don’t have that hanging over us anymore.


So what can we expect for the next five years? How do we even plan for such an uncertain future?

Well… honestly… the original goals haven’t really changed. They’ve just shifted. We’ve always wanted to live a more self sufficient life, and that’s simply become a greater priority over things like cleaning up the spruce grove or the outer yard.

In the short term, the gardens will continue to expand. We’ve learned a lot in three years of gardening here. We now know that we need to put a priority on things like raised beds and trellises, and that we need to work out how to deal with both drought and flooding, as well as getting around our rocky and nutritionally depleted soil.

We know that we need to work to grow a lot more food, with a lot more varieties, on the assumption that much of what we plant will simply not make it.

We know we need to step up on planting a food forest and other perennials that will feed us – along with things to attract and protect pollinators.

We know we will have to battle critters over the food we grow.

We know that we have to put a priority on getting food animals, even if it’s just a few chickens or meat rabbits – and that we need to be prepared to grow their feed, because we might not be able to buy feed for them.

We know that we can expect to be unable to get out of here for potentially months at a time, whether it’s due to vehicles breaking down or freezing, or roads impassable because of snow or flooding, so we have to be prepared for that. We know we need to keep at least a couple months worth of food, household necessities, and cat supplies, on hand, just in case.

We have been incredibly fortunate in that we have not had any major power failures, but I remember many times when I was a kid, losing power and having to fire up the old wood burning cook stove. That is no longer an option. We can at least cook on the BBQ or the fire pit if necessary, which means that the priority list now includes finding some way to pay for the original well with the hand pump to be repaired, so we will at least have water if the power goes out. Water is our biggest weakness.

We always liked the idea of cooking over the fire pit, but with the first years here having total fire bans, this past summer was the first time we could safely use it for any length of time. We now know we need to come up with an off-grid, outdoor kitchen that we can use at any time of year, whether it’s in the middle of a snow storm in the winter, or if we’re under a fire ban in the summer. This would also be part of bringing back the old idea of having a summer kitchen, to use for canning and preserving, without overheating the house or taking up the kitchen from daily needs.

These past five years have shown us our original goals don’t actually need to be changed. Just the priority list. Yes, it’ll be great to finally have the spruce grove cleaned up, but that is less important than building garden beds and shelters and getting food animals. The goals are not mutually exclusive, though. Since we can’t afford much when it comes to lumber and supplies, we’ll just have to make use of the dead trees we need to cut down in the spruce grove, and we have to clean up around them to do that safely, anyhow.

We just have to keep reassessing and adapting the how and when, but the what has not really changed at all.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: some progress, and a little harvest

It’s just past 10pm as I start this, and we’re still at 21C/70F, and the higher winds of earlier today have died down to a lovely calm. I found myself looking for reasons to get the fire going, but I really need to get some sleep tonight! Sleep has been frequently interrupted for the past while. ๐Ÿ˜•

Lack of sleep wiped me out enough that I was feeling quite ill this morning, to the girls took care of feeding the critters so I could try and get at least a couple of hours in. With Leyendecker still in recovery in my room (no, he wasn’t the one keeping me up at night!), and my daughters still having their days and nights reversed, my younger daughter has been taking her “night shift” and sleeping in my room, to keep and ear out on Leyendecker while I’m out. (He seems to be doing all right, though still having difficulties voiding, so we are monitoring him very closely) In the end, it was almost noon before I finally was able to head outside and do my rounds – minus the critter feeding.

Of course, a fair amount of that is spent checking things in the garden. Things like this.

Here we are, into September, and the Red Noodle beans are just starting to show flower buds!

This Kakai hulless squash was the first to develop and is looking like it’s ripe – but it’s about a quarter the size it should be. If the weather holds, there’s a chance we’ll have a couple more, larger ones. In fact, all the hulless pumpkins are going rather well, compared to the other winter squash. Only the Baby Pam pumpkins are managing as well. The Lady Godiva should give us at least 2 fully developed squash by the end of the growing season, with a few more little ones developing. Likewise, the Styrian variety has a couple large pumpkins that should be harvestable by the time growing season is done, with a couple more developing.

As for the Baby Pam, we have a little few bright orange pumpkins that could probably be harvested, that are smaller than they should be, but there are others that are still growing and turning colour that look like they will reach their full size – which isn’t very large to begin with.

This Georgia Candy Roaster is one of two stunted plants that were just covered in slug trails this morning!

While watering this evening, I was amazed to find female flowers among the Georgia Candy Roaster, and even one Winter Sweet. I hand pollinated them, just in case, but I think it was too late for one of the Georgia Candy Roasters.

While harvesting, I was surprised by how many Yellow Pear and Chocolate Cheery tomatoes were ready. I took the few G-Star patty pans that were on the plant killed off by a cut worm.

A few more of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes were ripe enough to pick, and into the freezer the went, with the others needing to be processed.

I keep saying I need to get those done, but the fact that they are in the freezer actually frees me up to work on other things. But that will be in my next post!

As for the garden, it’s a waiting game. So far, we’re not looking to have cold temperatures or frost for the rest of the month. With our first average frost date on Sept. 10, that is very encouraging. I plan to do recordings for another garden tour video on that date. Hopefully, thing weather will hold and things will have time to catch up.

I’d really like a chance to try those red noodle beans!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: gourds and pumpkins

Another batch of seeds were started today: the last of the gourds and pumpkins we will be planting this year.

We are trying three varieties of hulless pumpkins. I really love pumpkin seeds, but they are quite expensive, so hopefully we will get lots of seeds to eat from these. We’ve got Lady Godiva, Kakai and Styrian. We’ll see which variety grows and tastes best to save seeds from. Or we might just save seeds from all of them. The Styrian pumpkin seeds are a good oil seed, and getting an oil press is on our wish list. The Kakai are supposed to be really excellent, roasted, while the Lady Godiva are supposed to be really excellent eaten fresh out of the pumpkin, as well as roasted. Three varieties with three different ideal ways to use them.

The remaining gourds we will be planting this year are Apple and Yakteen. Both are edible when young, and apparently Apple gourds are very healthy. I’m growing the Apple gourds for crafting purposes. We’ll try them both. Then we’ll decide whether the Yakteen gourd will be used as an edible, as well as for crafting. The Yakteen gourd is listed as very rare, so we’ll be saving seeds for those, regardless. If we succeed in growing them! We do have two other varieties of gourd seeds from last year, but we’re skipping them this year.

The Baby Pam pumpkins are a small, short(ish) season variety that is supposed to be an excellent eating pumpkin, especially good for pies. Veseys doesn’t seem to carry them anymore, though, so I’m glad to still have these seeds from last year. We had none germinate last year, but I think that has more to do with the troubles we had with our starting medium, rather than the seeds themselves. This year, we’ve bought soilless seed starting mixes, and I think that’s working out much better.

I decided to just plant two pots with three seeds for each of these. The gourds and Baby Pam pumpkin seeds got scarified and soaked for a while before planting. Depending on how well they germinate and how strong they are, we might thin by dividing to get more to transplant in June. My daughter did the planting while I cut up and wrote out more labels.

The ground cherry seedlings got moved to the mini-greenhouse, and now the warming mat is under all pumpkins and gourds right now.

Yes, I added water to the tray after the photo was taken. LOL

Here’s what’s in the mini-greenhouse right now.

I’d rotated all the trays before taking photos. Here are the ground cherries, just added to the tray with second planting eggplants, peppers, luffa and Crespo squash, along with one Canteen gourd that was thinned out from one of the pots now in the sun room.

There is one empty shelf below, ready for when we need to move more things out of the big aquarium greenhouse to make room for more starts.

Here we have the second planting Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, plus the first planting eggplant and peppers that survived the Great Cat Crush.

Here we have the Cup of Moldova tomatoes that were smaller and didn’t need to get moved to the sun room yet. They’re getting quite tall, so we’ll likely have to move them to the sun room fairly soon.

For the next batch of starts, in a couple of days, we’ll be moving on to the winter squash. Particularly the larger varieties that need a longer growing season.

I’m really looking forward to those, and will be looking to start more of each, if we can find the space. These were selected to be a major part of our winter food storage, so I’m aiming to plant quite a lot of each variety, if possible.

We are starting so many seeds indoors this year, but I’d much rather be planting more. Partly because we just don’t know how many will actually make it. Even if they all germinate, the cats don’t manage to destroy any more of them, and we transplant them all, they could still die of transplant shock, a late frost, critters, insects… Gardening is really a touch and go endeavour. As the poem says, one for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow. I’m also reminded of a “prepper” saying I’ve recently come across. Two is one, and one is none. Redundancy is a good thing, whether it’s how many bags of rice to store, how many can openers to have handy, or how many seeds to plant!

If we had the space, I would be planting double what we’re doing for our indoor starts.

The Re-Farmer

2021 Goals: Review and Reset

It’s that time of year again!

As the year winds down, it’s time to review the goals we’d set, see what worked, what didn’t and what we want to accomplish next year.

Among the goals we had:

Starting a cordwood shed to use as an outdoor bathroom, with a composting toilet, to replace the outhouse over a pit.

Well, that didn’t happen. Which is turned out to not necessarily be a bad thing.

The location we want to build it is in that open space behind the compost ring. One of the things I did this past summer was go through the spruce grove and mark most of the dead spruce trees I found. I marked almost 2 dozen, and there were several others I didn’t bother marking, or couldn’t get at. These were trees that were intended to be used for the cordwood walls, however priorities have changed. They will now be used to build high raised garden beds. Right now, the space we want to build in is going to be needed to drag logs out of the spruce grove. Thanks to my mother, we now have a wood chipper that we can use to break down the branches, so we’re not adding to all the branch piles, and will have plenty of wood chips for mulch.

Until we can build the outdoor bathroom, we do still need something to use the next time we have plumbing problems, so the inside of the old outhouse was fixed up and made pretty (the photo here is from before it was finished). A goal for 2022 is to remove the old, moss covered shingles, extend the roof to create an overhang above the door, re-shingle it (or use some of the left over bits of metal roofing we still have in the barn), and do any repairs on the outside before giving it all a final paint job.

We did find that a groundhog had got into the pit and dug a den under the floorboards somewhere. Sadly, if we get an average amount of snow, this will likely result in a drowned groundhog. Our first two springs here, we found that snow melt would form a large puddle in front of the outhouse, and I could see in the hole under the door, which is now fixed, that the pit filled completely with water. There is nothing we can do about this. Hopefully, the groundhog will wake up early enough and leave the den before this is an issue.

Another of our goals is to have the branch piles chipped. While we now have this awesome new wood chipper, which can chip branches up to 3 inches thick, it is very slow going. The branches have to be trimmed of any sticky-outy bits, and be straight, or it won’t go through. For the sake of efficiency, it will be better to hire the tree guys and their massive chipper. When we got their estimate, they figured it would take 6 hours to chip all our wood piles. For our budget, I’m hoping that we can have them come out for three hours in the spring, to get at least the big pile in the outer yard done, and maybe the little ones in the maple grove. Then we can see about hiring them again, maybe in the fall, to do the remaining big piles. With the new wood chipper, we should at least not be adding more to the branch piles, as we clear dead trees out of the spruce grove!

Another goal that we once again failed to meet, was hiring someone to haul the junk pile away to the landfill. This irritates me, because that pile is getting so large, and we are getting to a point where we need to start cleaning up on that side of the chain link fence. If our budget allows, I’m hoping to at least have smaller loads removed, as we can afford it. The name I have for a guy that hauls junk uses a pick up truck, so if we can get him to come by a few times throughout the year, even that would be a help.

Our gardening goals were mostly met, as far as drought conditions allowed. We used poplars we’d cleared out of parts of the spruce grove to build trellises, and those will be used for another year. We planted in areas far from the house, partly to prepare the soil for permanent plantings. The corn and sunflowers were potentially there to provide privacy screens, too, but the drought and poor soil conditions prevented that. Having to use 300 feet of garden hose to water things, and still just barely being able to reach some corners, during a drought and heat waves, was something we could have done without! Add in damage from deer and groundhogs, and it’s a miracle we had as much produce as we did.

For 2022, our garden plans will continue, and this year we will start with the permanent plantings. We are pouring over websites and looking over what bushes we will be planting in those far flung areas. In one section, we will be closing off a gap in the hedge along the north fence line that the deer go through. My mother had been planting lilacs along this fence, but we are looking to plant berry producing shrubs and bushes, instead. We will also be planting them along the east side, both to help keep deer out and to create a privacy screen. We still need to make sure we can access the east fence line, and there has to be a lane kept open, over where the telephone wires are buried, so we will use other methods to close that off to the deer. We’ll have a better idea of what we can buy in January, when many of the nurseries will have their new inventory available. We might be going with sea buckthorn, if the other varieties we were looking at don’t come back into stock.

Other things we intend to order for 2022 are raspberry canes and, if all goes well, Korean Pine. These require shade for their first 5 years, so they will be planted just north of the spruce grove. If budget allows, we’d like to get new Saskatoon bushes, too.

We will have to take out more of the crab apple trees, to remove diseased trees. There are two trees that produce the best apples. If I can protect those, I will be happy. However, we will also be getting other types of fruit trees including, hopefully, a hardier variety of mulberry tree to replace the one that we bought last year, that got killed off by that one cold night that also killed off all the flowers that would have given us fruit and berries this past year. I’m not sure how many we will be able to squeeze out of our budget this year, but the more fruit trees we get, the better, as they can take many years before producing fruit. Berry bushes are also high on our list, as they will start producing much faster.

This past year, we expanded our garden plots significantly, but with our long term goal of growing as much of our own food as possible, we will need to continue to expand and prepare new ground. Now that we have a working chain saw, we’ll be able to clear dead trees out of the spruce grove and clean that up faster. Many of these dead trees appear to have no rot in them yet, and we plan to turn many stumps into benches and tables. We will also need to clear out the fallen rotten trees, and other fire hazards. Once things are cleared out, we will be planting more spruces in the spruce grove, as well as fruit and berry trees that require more protection from the elements. We’re also looking at getting some Rugosa roses, though they will likely be used more as a deer barrier!

Where the trellises are now will eventually be converted to our food forest, except for the lane that needs to be kept open over the buried phone line, but we will use them where they are for one more year. We ordered quite a lot of seeds already, from Vesey’s (including replacement seeds) and Baker Creek again, plus two orders from Heritage Harvest, which is a new company for us this year. The only seeds we’ve ordered that are still en route are the kulli corn. The only other seeds I still plan to buy are peas, but I will pick those up from a local store when they come available, rather than ordering them in. We will also be making use of seeds from our inventory left over from last year. Which means we will need to build more trellises, once we decide where, because we’ll have quite a few vining plants, and there’s only so much we can plant along the chain link fence. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Along with the saplings, canes and root stock we plan to order, we will be ordering potatoes and sunchokes. This time, we will not try to grow potatoes in bags, but will use the Ruth Stout method again, as part of preparing new areas for either more garden plots, or permanent plantings, the following year.

At this point, we have three low raised bed boxes built, and one high raised bed. Next year, we will continue to use the current beds in the main garden area. The goal is to cut the dead spruce trees to size so that, after things are harvested in the fall, the remaining beds will be converted to high raised beds before next winter. With how much watering we had to do during the drought, filling the beds hรผgelkultur style will be an important part in moisture retention. Even under normal conditions, high raised beds are notorious for drying out too quickly, but with how we fill them, coupled with the judicious use of mulch, we should be able to prevent that from being a problem.

We will also be making new beds for corn and the many types of squash we have for this coming year, but those will be in areas that will eventually have trees planted in them. Ultimately, we will be building accessible high raised beds in the outer yard to the south of the house, where they will get more sunlight. Eventually, we intend to build a greenhouse or polytunnel out that way, too. It’s not something we’ll be able to start building in 2022, but we should be able to start preparing where they will eventually go. The renter plans to build new fences next year (maintaining the fences was part of the deal they’d originally made with my late father), since their electric fence has been not working as well as intended. I hope to talk to them again about putting a new fence line across the old hay yard, which will be much shorter (therefore, cheaper) than rebuilding the existing fence, but also takes away an area of pasture. We would need a gate in there, though, so that we can eventually haul away those old vehicles to the scrap yard. As that would not be something they’d normally include, I’d be offering to pay for the gate portion. If they are willing to do the new, shorter fence line through the old hay yard, we will be able to get rid of some old, messed up fences and a shed that looks ready to collapse pretty soon. Then we can start building new garden beds out that way. This is also the general area where we want to build the outdoor kitchen, as well as planting a wind break. None of which are worth starting, while there is a chance the renter’s cows can get through. There are also old, collapsing fences around the inner yard we want to take out completely, rather than repair or replace, but again, it can’t be done until the outer yard is fenced in. Long term, though, we won’t have an inner and outer yard anymore, but just one really big yard.

Which means that, on top of continuing our work in the inner yard and garden, we need to get more work done on cleaning up the outer yard. There’s a limit to what we can do, without heavy equipment, but we can at least get a start on it. That was something we should have worked on this past year, but accomplished very little. Hopefully, this coming year will not have the drought and heat waves that made heavy manual labour a very bad idea!

With what we’ve learned from the past year, we know that this year, we will need to focus on protecting our plants from deer, groundhogs and racoons. We will also be focusing on permanent plantings that are drought tolerant and can handle poor soil conditions, even with the amendments we’re working on. We are also looking into planting forage trees and fodder well away from the house and gardens, to give wildlife less reason to invade our yards, looking for food.

As we build our raised garden beds, we will also be ensuring they will all be the same size at the top, so that any covers we build can be interchangeable. The low raised beds are boards and are 3′ x 9′. The high raised bed is 4′ x 9′, and we plan to build them all that size. With the thickness of the logs, the actual growing space inside is closer to 3′ x 8′. So if we build covers to fit the low raised beds, they should also fit the high raised beds.

While most of our goals are going to be expanding or continuing previous goals, a new goal I want to add is to have chickens. For our egg needs, we would only need about half a dozen birds. The problem is, we don’t have anything to keep them in. I am wanting chickens to be part of our soil reclamation progress, which means being able to move their coop and enclosure regularly. Buying a new chicken tractor is well beyond our budget, but we don’t have the materials to build one, either, and with the cost of building materials right now, it’s as out of reach as buying a new one. Of the many, many videos I’ve looked at for making quick, easy and inexpensive coops and shelters for chickens, none of them are suitable for our climate. Oh, they could be temporary structures for the summer, and I do plan to build versions of them that will fit over our raised garden beds, but none of them would keep chickens alive during our winters.

That is something I need to work on. I’d love to get able to get chicks this spring, but if we can’t shelter them once they’re big enough to leave a brooder, there’s no point.

So there we have it. We did accomplish some of our goals for 2021, but many of our goals are multi-year things, so it’s more progress than accomplishment.

Now we’ll see how much we manage to get done next year!

The Re-Farmer

Thinking of 2022; first seed order placed

While we have already been picking up some seeds here and there for next year’s garden, still have some from this past year, and even have some seeds we have saved, last night I placed our first online seed order. We will have a “seed” budget over the next few months that will also include, hopefully, fruit trees and berry bushes as well.

A lot of stuff is still listed as out of stock. This is most likely because the sites are at the end of the 2021 catalogue year, and their 2022 products are not ready yet. Still, it meant a few things on my wish list did not get ordered, and I found alternatives, instead.

This order was with Veseys. I have been very happy with what I’ve had from them – even the stuff that ended up failing, like the mulberry tree, since they had no control over it getting hit with that one bitterly cold night that killed it off! ๐Ÿ˜€ There are several other places we will be ordering from, month by month, but this is what I ordered last night, with why they were chosen.

All photos belong to Veseys, and I will link to their individual listings. (For future readers, if the links are dead, it’s likely because they no longer carry the item anymore.) All links will open in a new tab, so you don’t lose your place.

This past summer was a hard one for the winter squash. We did not get enough winter squash for storage, and that’s the main reason we were growing them at all. While we still have Red Kuri and Teddy squash seeds we can grow next year, I like variety. Hopefully, between them all, we’ll have at least something for the root cellar!

Georgia Candy Roaster Winter Squash

This is the long squash in the photo. I have heard from quite a few different places about how delicious these squash are, so I want to give them a try.

Winter Sweet Organic Squash

Another good storage squash that I chose specifically because the listing says they are best for eating several months after being picked. So this one is for the long haul!

Bresko Beet

We’ve tried different varieties of beets, and grew lots of them this year, but with the growing conditions, we got remarkably few beet roots out of it. I don’t know that we will order other varieties as well, but I don’t expect we will plant as many as we did, this past summer. The listing specifies that this variety is a good storage beet, so that’s a big selling feature for me. Pickled beets are fine and dandy, but having some for fresh eating will also be good.

Aunt Molly’s Organic Ground Cherries

I’ve been wanting to grow these for a while! Before our move, we did grow these in our balcony garden with success, and I just love them. Which is odd, as they are in the tomato family, and I can’t eat tomatoes unless they’re processed. One of the cold climate gardening sites I follow listed these as something they regret planting, as they became invasive, and they didn’t like how they tasted. It seems these can self sow and are hard to get rid of, once established. With I see as a bonus! These will be planted in a location that can be permanent, so they can self-sow as much as they want.

Conservor Organic Shallot

We will be trying these again! I really enjoyed the shallots we bought as sets, to replace what we tried to grow from seed, but they were used up very quickly. We need more for our household, and the sets only had 25 per bag! I want to try and grow from seed again. This time, we have what we need to ensure the cats’ won’t be able to get at them and destroy them again!

Red Baron Onion

Another one we will be trying again. When we started these seeds for our 2021 garden, I had used an cardboard egg tray for the “pot”. The cardboard just sucked the moisture right out of the growing medium.

We did plant the last of our seeds in Solo cups, though it was incredibly late in the season. What we did get got transplanted near our tomatoes. It didn’t really work, but while I was working on that bed yesterday, I found a single Red Baron onion in the ground, with just a hint of green on it. So I planted it back into the ground! Onions go to seed in their second year, so it should overwinter just fine under the mulch. We shall see! Even if it doesn’t, though, I look forward to trying to grow these bunching onions from see again.

Oneida Onion

Of course, we must have regular cooking onions, too! This is a variety I chose for its storage potential. I was happy with the yellow onions we grew from seed compared to the ones we grew from sets. We go through a lot of onions in this household, so I will probably be ordering other varieties as well – as long as we can find the room for all the growing trays when we start them indoors! At the very least, I want to get a variety of red onions I have my eye on, in another site.

We got a bush bean collection last year that did surprisingly well under difficult growing conditions. This year, I wanted to try a pole bean collection, but it was out of stock, so I found individual ones to try. We may still get bush beans as well. I am also interested in getting beans for drying. We shall see.

Carminat Bean

Since everything purple seemed to do much better than other stuff in our garden this year, I figured a purple pole bean would be worth a try! They are supposed to be a high yield bean that stays tender even as they get larger.

Seychelles Bean

This pole been variety was new for Veseys for 2021. They are supposed to produce for a very long time. As they are also expected to grow up to nine feet tall, these, and the Carminat bean, should be great to grow on the squash tunnel.

Latte Corn

This past summer, we had a sweet corn collection with three different varieties. This year, I decided to get just the one – and we will be planting them closer to the house in next year’s garden! These are an early variety that can handle colder soil, which will be important for spring sowing. Also, they were on sale. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I plan to get a couple other varieties of corn from elsewhere as well, so we should still have three or four different kinds of corn next year. We shall see.

I decided to try turnips this upcoming year. A couple of varieties caught my eye.

Tokyo Silky Sweet Turnip

I chose this variety because they get harvested at such a small size, and are supposed to be mild and sweet. The leaves can be used like spinach, too.

Purple Prince Turnip

These are a fast maturing summer turnip that are also supposed to be harvested at a smaller size. The greens are also good for eating, so they are another dual purpose crop.

Eureka Cucumber

And finally, we have these cucumbers! I chose this variety for its dual purpose as well. Harvested at smaller sizes, they are a good pickling cucumber. Leave them to grow larger, and they are good for fresh eating, too.

So this is our start! Along with the garden beds we used this past summer, we will need to expand our garden even more for next year. We will likely need to build more trellises as well.

One thing we learned from this past year’s garden is, if we want to meet our goal of growing enough food to preserve through the winter for the four of us, we need a much bigger garden! Partly, we need to plant more of some things, because who knows how much will actually survive? Plus, a few packets I’d ordered turned out to have fewer seeds in them than I expected. As I place our orders, I’ll need to keep an eye on the quantities and decide; do I order more packets, or order more varieties?

Hopefully, we will not get another year of severe heat and drought conditions. Nor another year with a plague of grasshoppers. And be able to keep the critters out… There are so many things that can affect yield. Someone on one of the gardening groups I’m on, posted this little rhyme.

One for the rook
One for the crow
One to rot and
One to grow

Planting four times more than we think we will need seems a bit much, but after how things went this past year, there are some things it really does seem appropriate for! And that’s just food for us. When we get chickens and possibly goats, we will want to grow as much feed as we can. Plus, I want to eventually grow flour corn and things like wheat, chickpeas and flax. I’m even looking at getting sugar beets, and my daughters are interesting in growing hops for beer making. By the time we’re doing that, however, we’ll be growing in the outer yard!

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 Garden; cutting our losses, and planning plots

Well, it was time to throw in the towel on some of our seed starts.

The bunching onions in the small fish tank never recovered from the cats being able to get at them, there were mold issues, and watering problems. At least with those, we still had seeds left and could start more.

The shallots (in the background, out of focus) are another loss.

This is one of the potential problems of using whatever was on hand. We started them in the cardboard egg cartons, but had no way to put a tray of any kind under them, where we could water them from below. Even though we did take them out and give them a thorough watering from below, it wasn’t enough. I regularly sprayed them with water, trying to get the cartons themselves wetter, but again, it wasn’t enough. The shallots are a complete loss, and I have no more seeds to try again. So we’ll be down from four types of onions to three. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Unless I find and buy sets later on.

In the future, I would not use the cardboard egg cartons to start seeds in again, unless I were able to keep them in a tray of some kind, and keep the cardboard wet all the time. In spite or watering them every evening, when I pulled them out of their makeshift greenhouses this morning, they were pretty much bone dry. So, they went into the compost heap this morning. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The little tank is now empty, and the tomatoes and bunching onions have been shifted around in the big tank. We are seeing more and more seedlings pop up, though there are still a couple of cups that have no seedlings at all. We’re not after a lot of tomato plants, but I am hoping for more of the Red Baron onion seeds to germinate. At least the bulb onions seem to be doing all right. From what I’ve read, I should be trimming them a few inches, about now.

Yesterday, I picked up some Jiffy pots. I’ve been looking things up about growing luffas, which have a very long growing season to reach that sponge stage I’m after. I’ve decided I will start a few seeds of those in the next few days, and set them up in the little tank. With the screen I found in one of the sheds as a “lid”, we’ve solved the cat problem, so I can raise the level closer to the light, too. From what I’ve been reading/watching, luffa doesn’t like to be transplanted (more so than other gourd types), so using pots which can be buried should help reduce transplant stress. With the size the pots are, I should be able to still double cup them with the red solo cups, which would allow me to water them from below.

So that’s a goal for the next few days, and I will also be preparing to start the other seeds that need to be starting in April.

Meanwhile, as I do my morning rounds, I’ve been studying the different areas we intend to garden in this year.

This strip has never had a garden in it. You can see where the ground starts to get rough on the left, where the old garden started. That rough part is from the crappy plow job that was done before we moved here.

This stretch will have alternating blocks of three varieties of Peaches ‘n Cream corn and two varieties of sunflowers.

In years where we had more snow, where I’m standing to take this picture had a large puddle of water from melted snow. This year, there is only that whitish patch you can see on the left foreground. That’s ice from the small amount of water accumulated this spring. This is something to keep in mind when we are planting food trees here, as we don’t want saplings being drowned out in the spring. So part of our goal when growing here is leveling things out a bit more.

The further out we go, however, the drier it gets. By the time we reach the corner, past the low hanging spruce branches I will have to prune away, it’s very dry. Weeds and grass barely grow there. Which means that, when we have corn growing there, we are going to have to find ways to keep them well watered. This entire area is going to be a challenge to water, simply because it’s so far from the house.

This time of the morning is the only time this area is in shade. It gets full sun for most of the day, and also gets incredibly hot. To the left of where the corn and sunflowers will be planted is where we will be having beds of melons and gourds. They’ll get the heat they need (especially if we have summer like last year!). We just have to make sure they get the water they’ll need. The winter squash will also be more on this side, while the summer squash will be planted closer to the house, where they will be closer for continual harvesting over the summer.

We’re also going to have to work on keeping the deer out. There are a number of options we can try. If we make use of several of them together, it should work out.

The fence line the trees on the right are hiding is pretty much toast. New posts had been put in along the spruce grove, which I’m guessing my late brother did, but he never got to finish the job. The remaining stretch of fence has rotting fence posts, some of which are held up by nothing but the barbed wire. My late brother had a soil auger attachment for the Bobcat, and we still have the post pounder he built, but the Bobcat and its accessories are with our vandal now, and the post pounder had been sitting, exposed to the elements and covered in junk, for so many years, there’s lichen growing on the belts. So if we’re going to be putting in new fence posts, we’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way. I’ve found a couple of post hole diggers that we can try out. One of them is a very different design, and I’m curious as to how it would be used.

Meanwhile, that entire strip along the West fence line needs to be cleaned up. I might have to take the remains of the fence out entirely. The North fence line, which runs behind the lilac hedge, is in even worse shape, but at least the lilacs are there to provide some privacy and a bit of security. Once the strip along the West fence line is cleared out, it’ll be pretty open.

It would be nice to not need a fence there at all.

Since these fences mark the property lines at the roads, these are areas where we can consider putting in something very permanent for fencing. Something along the lines of a hedgerow, perhaps, or a “palisade” type of wall that would give both privacy, and keep the deer out! The corner at the far end is one of the places they regularly jump the fence (well… what’s left of the fence…). The road on the North side is very busy (as such things are in this area), and in the summer, a LOT of dust gets kicked up. On a windless day, it just hangs in the air like a fog, slowly drifting across the property, for a surprisingly long time. The lilac hedge helps keep that out of the garden area quite a bit, so that’s another thing to keep in mind as we work on the area. Dust control!

When it comes to gardening in this area, it’s all temporary. If things go well, it’ll just be for one year, and then next year, we’ll be able to start planting food trees here, while permanent garden beds get placed to the south of the house. The area we intend for permanent beds is very rough, though. It might be easiest to clear it as much as we can, then get someone in to plow and smooth it out as much as possible. We’ll be building accessible raised beds there, so it’s the leveling that’s more important to our needs. It would be good if we could get the old farm equipment moved, and the collapsing building dismantled and cleared away, but that might be just too much for this year!

We’ve got a lot of work to get done! Last year, with first the heavy rains, then the excessive heat, we didn’t get anywhere near as much done as I wanted. Hopefully, this summer will be not be as extreme.

So much of what we want to do depends on the weather!

The Re-Farmer

Foggy morning, and more looking ahead

It’s past 10am as I start this post, and we are still surrounded by fog!

The camera automatically cleans up images, so this photo does not reflect just how dense the fog was when I took it!

Not only does fog normally disappear quite a bit earlier than this, but it’s also pretty breezy out there. I’m used to winds and fog on the coasts. On the prairies, a stiff breeze usually blows the fog away in no time. Not today!

I just had to share this high traffic zone picture!

There are deer paths cutting through the old garden area, but most of the tracks are all long here. When we first moved here, you couldn’t walk under the spruces, because of all the overhanging branches. The deer seem to be very happy that it’s all cleaned up!

Down the middle of this area, between the spruces and the crab apple trees, we are planning to plant Korean Pine Nuts. They need to be kept shaded for their first 5 years (the transplants are typically sold at 3 years), and this location is prefect for that. We will still put covers to shade them more, but also to keep the deer from trampling them. After 5 years of being really tiny, they are supposed to have a sudden growth spurt. It would be another 5 years or so before they have edible pine nuts. We are hoping to buy them and get them started next year.

This is another high traffic zone for the deer. The open space in front, past the ring for the compost pile, is also where we plan to build the outdoor bathroom.

Not getting that started last year, as I’d hoped, may turn out to be a blessing. While taking this photo, I took a good look at the spruces in the background. There was one I had already identified as needing to be cut down, but looking more closely, there seems to be at least 6 or 7 dead spruces that we’ll need to cut down. Possibly 8 or 9, if I count the ones closer to the house (we’ll be hiring someone to take those ones down). I wouldn’t want any of them falling on our shed after we build it! Plus, if we cut them down before they fall down, the wood might still be usable for projects. Usually, by the time they fall, it’s because ants have made nests in the trunk and they are left basically hollow.

Once the dead trees and some of the underbrush (mostly spirea!) is cleared away, that is where we will be planting the mulberry tree we will be getting this spring. It will get full sun, while still being sheltered by the other trees. This is one tree we’ll have to make a point of wrapping up in the fall, for at least the first few years. A mulberry tree can start producing fruit by the second year, so that will be exciting! In the future, we plan to get a variety native to the more Eastern parts of Canada. It is becoming rare, so we will have to make sure to plant it away from any others we get, so they don’t cross pollinate. That might be 2 or 3 years from now, though.

One of the things I love about doing the morning rounds is looking at the progress made. Even though we are “behind” on getting this area in particular cleared out, it’s reached a point where it no longer seems as overwhelming, and I can get excited about the things we can do in the increasingly near future!

The Re-Farmer