We’ve had all sorts of things budding and blooming in succession. The most recent buds developing is the pink rose bush in the old kitchen garden.

This rose was almost dead when we first moved here. It took years to help it recover, and prune away enough of ornamental apple tree above it, so it was finally getting enough light. Now it’s starting to thrive and has SO many buds developing!

The Re-Farmer

This and that

I can’t say today was a very productive day in the usual sense, but I’ll talk more about that later.

I was able to get a picture of Decimous this evening.

I had to zoom in, because he still won’t let us come near him. His fur is so matted! I can see some bald looking spots, which would explain the tufts of white and black fur I’ve been seeing around the yard.

Judgement has us concerned. My daughter saw him a couple days ago and he was limping again, but when we saw him last night, he was fine. This morning, he was limping again! As friendly as he is, he does not like to be handled or picked up, so we’ve been having a very hard time getting a look at his paw. It took three of us before we could finally catch a quick glimpse of the problem. There’s something wrong with one of his toes, at the claw. There is no blood or even visible swelling, but it’s messed up somehow and obviously hurting him.

Getting him to a vet would be a challenge. He now tends to disappear for a day or two, so we don’t know when we’d be able to catch him. We can’t isolate him in the sun room – even if we weren’t using it as a greenhouse, it gets too hot in there now – and with the ladies refusing to leave my room, we no longer have a place in the house we could isolate him in. Which means we can’t make an appointment, since we have no idea if we’d be able to keep one.

I ended up sending an email to the vet, explaining the situation, and asking if we could bring him in on a “walk in” sort of basis. Basically, if we can get him in the carrier, we’d take him in right away, phoning ahead to let them know, and hope that he doesn’t injure himself more, trying to get out of the carrier. I have not yet had an answer. We’ll see how that pans out.

As for today, I went into town to take part in a Freedom Rally, in response to the many things our Prime Dictator and his cohorts have been doing. It actually started in the city and people came in a parade of vehicles to the beach in town, where activities and speeches commences. There was a good turn out, and even people who just happened to be at the beach, enjoying the weekend, showed an interest.

Town and the beach were quite busy for this first day of our long weekend. The lake is ice free now – at least at our end of it – but no one was going into the water, that’s for sure! At home, we were at 27C/81F at the time, with town reading at 25C/77F. The weather station, however, is just outside of town, not near the lake. I’d say we were closer to 22 or 23C/72 or 73F so close to the ice cold water.

Knowing it was busy, I headed into town early to have “breakfast” before the lunch crowd started. I was going to go to a particular fish and chips place – one of the few restaurants on that strip that stays open all year – but they were closed. During the winter, they’d had a break in, and the door is still boarded up. It looks like they are closed permanently! Such a shame, if the are. I don’t particularly like fish, but they have a fish and chips dinner I actually crave at times.

There was another place nearby that is now open for the summer, so I went there. While waiting for my food, I went into the bathroom, where I found this sign.

I love it! So much detail on the plugged toilet and the plunger, but the dude is just a stick man – yet even the stick man has such lively little details on the face. Adding the (me) after “sad employee” is perfect.

It does make me wonder about the need for such a sign, though. Nothing that would surprise me, though. I’ve worked housekeeping at a resort hotel. I’ve seen how nasty people can be!

I also had time to check out a shop I haven’t been to in years. I was looking for something specific, and I found one! Just one…

This isn’t it. I bought this frog the last time I was in that shop. My younger daughter admires it, so when I found one, I got it for her. It is identical to this one.

She was very happy to receive it! I’d considered saving it as a birthday gift, but her birthday is still a month away, so I just gave it to her now. 😊

After spending too much time outdoors in the sun, even with the cooling effect of the lake nearby, once I got home I stayed in the relatively cool indoors for awhile. When I headed out to do my evening rounds, I did quite a bit of watering. I took the floating row cover off the spinach bed. It was getting torn up, and tore up even more as I took it off! The spinach is still quite small. With the heat we’ve been having, they could really use some shade. I am seeing more carrot sprouts, which is good. I still don’t know that the bed will end up full of carrots, but if what I’m can see so far survives, we’ll have a pretty full bed.

I’m seeing a very few more purple asparagus showing up. This is their third year, but last year’s flooding right around them easily set them back. In fact, I think we may have lost two crowns. The strawberries, however, are doing well, and a couple are even starting to bloom!

The peas are coming up quite nicely. It looks like almost all of them have germinated. Still no sign of poppies, though. The peppers and thyme that were transplanted last night are still alive. 😄 The bed with the Montana Morado corn is doing okay, but something has gotten in and spread some of the thick grass clipping mulch around the edges, so I had to put that back.

I dug our last garden hose out of the shed and set up the old rain barrel near the new raspberry plants. They got a deep watering while I set up, and then I used a watering can to do the sea buckthorn and the highbush cranberry, while filling the barrel. I didn’t water the silver buffalo berry as there are just too many of them, and I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

So things are looking good. I was quite sore after reworking the bed the corn was planted in last night, so I made sure to take it easy today. I didn’t want to overdo it and render myself useless for several days. There is still much work to get done, before it’s time to put in our transplants and do more direct sowing!

The Re-Farmer

First bloom!

Well, I did NOT finish off the cover for shallots I started yesterday. I did, however, get quite a bit accomplished. That, however, is for another post. For now, I’d like to share this…

Our very first tulips are blooming! When my older daughter and I checked on them this morning, these were still buds, but just starting to show colour. By evening, they were like this. 😊

The grape hyacinths in the maple grove have also exploded into bloom. Every time I try to get a picture of one, though, my phone keeps focusing on anything else but the spike of flowers right in front of it! 😄 My daughter daffodils that bloomed last year are coming up in lovely bunches right now. We’ve also found the leaves of some of her irises that barely made a showing last year. She’s absolutely thrilled, as she was sure they had died. Even the raspberries we got her for her birthday a couple of years ago are showing the tiniest of leaves. I thought they finally died last year, too. We managed to protect them from the deer, but couldn’t protect them from the horrible, no good growing year. The raspberries we planted this year are leafing out nicely right now, and even the newly transplanted apple tree has leaves unfurling. The mulberry, which are still in the house, have tiny leaves on them, too. The two surviving sea buckthorn have lots of leaves on them, as so the silver buffalo berry. The highbush cranberry are also showing leaves, though the one the deer got twice is a bit behind.

Near the tulips, the plum trees that didn’t get cut away are in full bloom. I love trees that bloom before their leaves come out! They will, eventually, need to be taken down, but I would rather not do that until we have something to replace them with. Like an edible variety of plum. For now, they are one of the few things in full bloom that the pollinators can enjoy.

We are most definitely well into spring out here in the Great White North!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: Red Thumb potatoes are in

Gooby tried to help.

He was not a very good helper!

The Red Thumb fingerling potatoes had to get into the ground, so they went into the beds that were ready.

I have no doubt I was crowding them a bit too much, but these are fingerling potatoes, so I hope that will make a difference. I still couldn’t fit them all in the bed along the retaining wall. The last of them went into the short end of the L shaped bed, where you can see the straw mulch. I was able to add straw mulch to the rectangular bed with the Irish Cobbler potatoes in it, too.

The extra height added to the bed along the retaining wall came in handy. I did work in some of the composted sheep’s manure first. The bed was already starting to compact! The height of the soil is almost as high as the retaining wall (it is settling a bit, still). The logs are high enough to hold the straw mulch in place.

Unfortunately, the cats seem to think that straw is there, just for them! Especially Gooby.

It started raining by the time I was ready to add the straw, but I gave all the straw a thorough watering, anyhow. They’ll get more deep watering, even with the rain. I’ve noticed that, if the straw doesn’t get saturated first, the top will get wet, but the bottom stays dry, so the moisture never quite gets to the ground. I want to get these beds soaked down through all the layers. Once that’s done, the beds will hold the moisture for quite a long time before they will need watering again.

The whole point of our wanting to use grow bags this year was because we have such a problem with slugs. I’m hoping that, by planting these in raised beds, it will be less of a problem. I suppose we could leave out some beer traps for the slugs, but I have no doubt the cats would be getting into them! I’d rather encourage garter snakes or toads and frogs.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing peas starting to break ground. Just barely visible! We’ve got carrots sprouting, too, but they are very small and it doesn’t look like we have a high germination rate. They really should have had the plastic right on the ground until they germinated, instead of on hoops, but the hoops were as much to keep the cats off as to keep the moisture in. Hopefully, the heat inside didn’t kill off too many seeds. We do still have 2 other varieties of carrots to sow, so we should be able to make up for any losses.

We’re getting air quality warnings right now. There is a cold front moving in, so the temperatures will drop quite a bit, tomorrow (though not low enough for frost), and with it will come smoke from the many fires in Alberta. Rain is desperately needed, though with so many of the fires being started by people, more than rain is going to be needed to get these under control!

Along with rain today, we’ve also got a fair bit of wind. Nothing exceptional, but too much to take the transplants out. We have no way to protect them from the wind on the various surfaces we use to lay them out. So they remain in the sunroom, which isn’t much warmer than outside right now, with the fan and the lights, for today.

I’m glad I got the potatoes in right away. Rainy, grey weather like this always makes me incredibly sleepy. If I’d delayed it, I probably would not have been able to get it done. As it is, I think I’m going to have to lie down for a bit. I can barely keep my eyes open, as I write this!

So… all three varieties of potatoes are planted. Which means I can finally turn my attention to taking down the trees we’ll be needing to build the trellis tunnel. That should have been done, long ago!

The Re-Farmer


He’s back!

After none of us seeing him at all, yesterday, I was quite concerned about how Judgement was doing, so I was VERY happy to see him this morning! It looks like he spent our rainy night tucked warm and cozy in the shelf shelter.

His front paws look fine. I see no sign of injury. Not that I’m getting more than a glimpse, but he also followed me around while I did my rounds, as is his custom. No limping. No favouring of the paw. It’s as if there was never anything wrong! Whatever was causing him pain a couple of days ago seems to have worked itself out.

What a relief!

The Re-Farmer


When I headed out to top of the cats’ food outside last night, I saw Judgement coming over well after the other cats had gathered.

He was limping.

He was barely putting any weight at all on one of his front legs. He was also acting unusually nervous when I tried to come close – normally, he’s all for the pets! – but even when I did, I could not see an obvious wound. There might have been a puncture – possibly a bite – but there was no blood or anything like that.

Unfortunately, in trying to get close, I ended up spooking him, which made a noise, which spooked all the other cats, and they all exploded in every direction. Including Judgement.

Which meant he was running in a panic on an injured foot.

I let the family know so we’d all keep an eye out for him. This morning, I saw lots of kitties…

… but no Judgement.

The girls did their rounds early this morning, too, and saw no sign of him, either.

I hope he’s okay!

I did get a chance to look at the tuxedo’s paws as he followed me around today, and sometimes rolled on the ground. Yesterday, I’d seen a bit of blood on one toe, but there isn’t any now. He even let me remove a burr from his tail. Just one of the many stuck in his tail, but one is better than none!

I’m going to go worry about Judgement all day now, though. 😥

The Re-Farmer

Not a happy camper!

When I headed out this morning to feed the outside cats, they were acting really, really hungry! I suspect their kibble got eaten up by skunks and racoons during the night. They were very happy when I started refilling their trays, that’s for sure!

Which is the only reason I was FINALLY able to pet Decimous, the little black and white cat. Normally, I can’t get near him. He didn’t like me being so close, but he didn’t want to leave the food, either, so I didn’t bother him too much. Running my hand across his back, though, I could feel so many lumps and bumps hidden in his fur! We so need to socialize this one, just so we can get the burrs and matts out of his fur!

I managed to get a picture of him later, and he does NOT look happy! 😄 Normally, when he looks at me, he has this wide-eyed, innocent, somewhat stunned expression. Here, he looks ready to rip my head off. 😄

Well, if I had fur that was full of spiky burs and tangled matts, I’d probably be unhappy, too!

In other things, I finally got what I needed to do in the old kitchen garden done. I’ll be putting together a video for that, which I hope to finish and upload tonight. We shall see!

But first, I’m going for a much needed shower. I did a lot of digging in the dirt, today!

The Re-Farmer

An eye rolling surprise, and some cuteness

I paused what I was working on to help my daughter get some old bikes out of the barn hayloft. She and my husband have been looking at the one I got for $10 at a garage sale, and I’m told it would cost more to fix it, than get a new bike! Given the price of new bikes these days, I don’t think so, but it needs a lot of work.

There are old bikes strewn around all over the farm, and my daughter had already brought a couple over. For the ones in the hay loft, the won’t fit through the opening in the floor, where it’s accessed by a ladder. There is a pair of doors on the side facing the house that haven’t been touched since the girls went up to secure them, after they were blown open during high winds.

Except… it turned out someone else had been up there.

In the fall of 2018, we discovered our vandal had boarded the barn doors up to try and prevent us from accessing stuff he felt entitled to. It never occurred to us that he would have gone up into the hayloft and boarded the doors up from the inside! It took my daughter quite a while to get them out, without damaging the doors more. The screws were driven deep into the wood, with two of them so deep, she didn’t even see them at first. He’d done that same thing with the main doors, with one driven so far into the wood, I never did get it out. I had to break the screw – something that was not an option for my daughter, today. The second door is still attached somehow, but she could not see where. One door open was enough to fit the bikes through, though. The floor up there is increasingly unsafe to walk on – I can’t go up there at all anymore – so she very carefully grabbed 4 adult size bikes that were up there (there are also a couple of tricycles!) and lowered them down with a rope. I would remove the rope and set the bike aside, while she got the next one.

There was one bike on the lower level she hadn’t noticed earlier, but I’d seen it while scavenging through the various piles of stuff back there. I dug it out for her and, in the process, discovered a couple of piles of ceramic tiles. Maybe about 30, altogether. They weren’t the usual used salvage, either, but look like none of them have ever been used! I’m sure we can find something to do with them. 😊


After we got the bikes down, my daughter looked around for anything else worth taking out. There’s a lot of stuff there, including the ubiquitous stacks of old tires, with and without rims. She ended up passing down to me some wood that looked like it was still in decent condition. Four or five 2×6 boards that are all about 12 feet long! I say “about” because they all have rotted ends, just like the other salvage lumber in the barn we’ve been making use of as best we can. There’s more lumber up there, but it’s all pretty rotten.

After we finished up and my daughter secured the doors from the inside so they wouldn’t blow open, I headed back to the house with a few things, while she started bringing the bikes closer. We now have a collection of 8 bikes out there. We’re hoping to be able to cobble together at least one that will work!

As I came to the house, though, I was thoroughly distracted by an adorable, squished kitty!

We keep this bin under the laundry platform bench, on its side and weighed down with bricks, as a place to keep the bucket of clothes pins out of the weather. The cats love to squish in the remaining space. Adam had been asleep when I came by, and does not look at all impressed that I interrupted his nap!

It looks like he’s been getting those burrs out of his fur, little by little. I managed to sneak a pet of his back while he was eating, recently, and didn’t feel the lumps I’d felt before. His long haired tuxedo brother, Driver, still has them in his tail and won’t let me get them out, but the ones on his body seem to be gone. Even Decimous, the little black and white, is looking like he as fewer mats in his fur. That leaves Brussel for the long haired cats, and she’s so stand-offish, we’ve never been able to tell if she’s getting matts or burrs in her fur. I’m just sort of assuming there are burrs in there. Even the short hairs cats have been having problems with them!

I do wish we could socialize all the outside cats! It would make it so much easier to take care of them!

They do make life more cheerful, though, just by existing! 😊

The Re-Farmer


While going in and out of the sun room today, I spotted this, out the window.

Someone found a nice spot to nap!

I call this one Potato Baby, because he looks so much like Potato Beetle. 🤍

The cats seem perplexed that they aren’t allowed in the sun room anymore, and I’m seeing the ones that used to be in there regularly, hovering nearby. The swing bench is outside and available for naps, but it looks like the garden bed was more comfortable!

Which is going to be a problem when we finally have stuff planted in there!

The Re-Farmer

Pink blep, and new growth

Things are warmed up nicely, so I’ll be heading out to work in the garden soon, but first I wanted to share this, from last night.

Would you look at this adorable boy?

You can see the mix of orange and grey fur that, in some lights, make Pinky’s fur look pink! He was eating like he was starving. He’s among the cats that don’t hang around quite as much anymore, and I suspect that by the time he does show up, most of the kibble is gone.

I am now sure about how adding the lysine powder to their kibble is working. There is, of course, no way to control the dose. Gooby (in the background) does actually seem to be less gooby. Of all the outside cats, he was the one that had the stuffiest nose and… well… there’s a reason he’s named Gooby! The other cats were never quite as bad, but some had issues with leaky eyes. As you can see, Pinky’s eye is leaking a bit, but it doesn’t look like he’s got problems with it. So… I guess it’s working? Talking to the Cat Lady about it, she says they would likely be worse without it. These respiratory issues are a major problem with all the outdoor cats in our province. We actually don’t have it as bad, simply because of the distance between other farm colonies. Not as much opportunity for cross contamination.

While doing my rounds, I also set up and prepared to work on the old kitchen garden, and also did a bit of clean up. Look what I found!

In cleaning out the retaining wall blocks, I uncovered quite a lot of chives that were completely hidden by last year’s detritus. The rhubarb in the photo is from the patch next to the chives and were easily visible. The patch at the opposite corner was completely covered, but when I raked up last year’s dead litter, I found there is a whole lot more coming up there!

I also cleaned up where the 50+ year old asparagus is, but there’s no sign of anything there yet. Very few spread show up when they do, and we just leave them to grow into ferns. Nearby is a patch of some kind of lily, which is showing little green leaf tips. Unfortunately, the invasive periwinkle looks like it’s already growing! I’m going to try and pull some of that up, so it doesn’t choke out everything else. I know we’ve lost this battle, but I want to at least keep them somewhat at bay.

I’ve received the last of my shipping confirmations. Our package of raspberries are still listed with May 8 as the expected delivery date, while both the trees and the potatoes are expected to arrive on May 9. Since these will be labeled as live plants on the packaging, I will not be surprised if they arrive by the end of this week. The post office does seem to prioritize living things for delivery! Either way, we need to be ready for them.

For now, though, I need to de-cat myself, head outside, and get some work done!

Sorry, Freya. I need to get up!

The Re-Farmer