A furry visitor

This big bugger is why we don’t have hanging bird feeders anymore.

After this picture was taken, a skunk joined it for a while. As I write this, the skunk it still there.

This looks like the big racoon I saw a few nights ago, when I came out to see what critters were snarling out the window. A big racoon made like it was going at me, then backed off, a couple of times, while a much smaller one was at the seeds.

With the storms and winds we’ve been having, we’re not seeing a lot of birds at the feeding station right now. Even the open ground where the seeds are gets filled with water enough to wash the seeds up against the grass.

I’m not seeing the groundhogs very often anymore, either. I think their dens are flooded out, and they’ve moved on. There was the one that dug a den under the mock orange against the house I was seeing more often. I’ve been pushing the dirt back into the hole regularly, and I think I’ve finally won the battle. It hasn’t been re-dug for a few days. Hopefully, that means our garden is safer from them this year!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

The mamas are regularly out in full force in the mornings.

I’ve taken to leaving small amounts of kibble on the cat’s house roof, too. Because skunks can’t climb.

No sign of kittens today, yet.

We’ll have to remember to switch out the frozen water bottles in their bowls several times today. It’s supposed to get quite hot.

Not this hot! This is what the bean tunnel thermometer was reading at about 10:30am. Our high of the day is expected to be 26C/79F, and it’s already 24C/75F as I write this. The weather app says the “feels like” reading is the same but, clearly, it feels a lot hotter while in direct sunlight!

It looks like all of our male cats have disappeared. The only ones left are Sad Face and The Distinguished Guest – and they hate each other and often fight, so they tend not to be around at the same time.

Speaking of fighting, I heard some snarling outside the living room window last night. I headed out with a flashlight, and a huge racoon was near the window, snarling and warning me off. It ran off, then back again, then snarled in a different direction, which is when I saw the second, smaller racoon at the feeding station.

I left them be.

The Re-Farmer

A couple days break?

We had quite a lot of rain yesterday, with temperatures much cooler than forecast for the first day of summer. The cool was much appreciated! It was nice being able to open up more windows again.

The problem is how wet everything is. Even the new part basement now has water pooling in places. Unlike the old basement, we can’t sweep this into a drain or a sump pump cistern. All we can do is keep a fan on it, really.

We’re supposed to have a couple of days that are warmer and without rain. Hopefully, that will be enough to let the grass dry out enough that I can finish mowing the lawn tomorrow. No chance of being able to get it done today, even if I wasn’t going to be at my mother’s for her home care assessment appointment. After that, however, we’re looking at possible thunderstorms and more rain for several more days.

While doing my morning rounds, I saw a couple of the kittens under the cat’s house again. I’m glad to see them, after they got so frightened by the lawn mower. I caught a brief glimpse of the little calico’s face. Her one eye still seems gooby, but otherwise all right.

The garden plots seem to be holding out all right, though I noticed a lot of pole beans at the trellises seem to have lost their leaves. I can’t tell if it’s because they were eaten by something, or because they wilted and fell off from excess moisture. There are still lots of plants, though, so we should still be good.

I’m pretty sure one of the lilacs at the corner of the storage house has been totally drowned. The few leaves it managed to grow are gone. If it survives, I’ll be amazed. There are others that aren’t quite as bad, and I think they’ll make it.

The Kulli corn seems to finally be recovering from transplant shock, looking more green and actually growing. The bush beans growing with them are progressing nicely. The first planting of spinach and one type of lettuce are getting big enough we should be able to start harvesting leaves and thinning them out.

As much of a problem the excess rain is, after last year’s drought and having to water every day, twice a day, throughout the summer, I’m really happy with how things are growing right now.

Still, it’ll be nice to have a couple of days break from the rain!

The Re-Farmer

Kitten surprise

After finishing my morning rounds and coming back to the house, I spotted kittens under the cats’ house again. I put some food out for them, then waited.

At first, I just saw the little tabby on the left, but I did briefly see the calico taking a peak off to the right. I’m happy to saw the eye that looked injured is now open, and she’s looking much better. I put a bit of food where I saw her, but the third, darker kitten came to eat, instead.

I kept slowly coming closer, so they’d get used to my presence, and tried to take some video. Which is when we had a kitten surprise!

There’s a fourth kitten!

It has much longer fur than the others. We might have another “David” out there! Long haired yard cats are very unusual.

I did see one more kitten, today. I came out of the sun room with frozen water bottles to put in their water bowls and startled a mama going by, carrying a white and black kitten. I ignored her, since she was already quite unhappy that I was there, so I didn’t see where she ended up going with the kitten. She was gone so fast, I thought she had to have just gone under the set up we made to harden off the transplants. We’ve left it there, to provide a little extra shade and shelter for the cats.

Which makes a total of five kittens I saw this morning, with two that I’ve never seen before!

The Re-Farmer

Three

The kittens we saw yesterday were back this morning! It is now confirmed: there are three of them.

When I saw they were under the cat’s house again, I put a scoop of kibble in the open spot they were peaking through, then hid away. The kittens were very enthusiastic about solid food! Then mama – the white tail tip confirms it’s Braddiccus – came over to stand guard. And have a bit of a snack with her babies. 🙂

The little calico didn’t come out all the way, though I did catch a glimpse of her one eye that’s got something wrong with it. Her siblings were bolder today, with one of them checking out the big water bowl. After they were gone again, I moved that bowl away, gave it a scrubbing, and left it closer to the kibble house. That left the 3 metal pans that we use as water bowls for them to drink from. Less chance of a kitten falling in, on those!

So this would be the litter that was inside the cat’s house, with Junk Pile’s litter, earlier in the spring. I’m surprised these ones are being brought over to the house first, when Junk Pile’s litter was born earlier. I would expect the mama with her older kittens would have been here first. But then, maybe she is, and we’re just not around to see her!

The Re-Farmer

Blooming and growing

We had more rain last night and this morning, and while we have some sun as I’m writing this, we’re expected to have more rain and thunderstorms tonight.

The plants and trees are loving it!

The lilacs near the house are so heavy with clusters of flowers, the branches are bowing down with the weight, to the point that even short little me has to duck to go under them!

This is our fifth spring here, and I’ve never seen the white lilacs blooming and well as this year.

The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden had to recover from storm damage a couple of years ago, then the late May killer frost last year. It’s been a while since these have bloomed so heavily!

The nearby honeysuckle did all right last year, as they start budding later than things like the lilacs and did not get affected by the last frost as much, and it looks like this year they will do even better.

Even the hawthorn, which is thoroughly shaded, is blooming.

After uploading the photo, I could see that it has some sort of insect infestation under some of the leaves!

Also, just look at that thorn! Yikes!

Shrubs aren’t the only thing we’ve got blooming right now.

Yes! We have blooming tomatoes! These would be the Sophie’s Choice, which we started very early indoors, then restarted after the seedlings got eaten by cats. An early start was recommended for this variety, even though it is a short season variety, so I’m not too surprised to see flowers on these ones. To see them so soon after transplanting, though, is rather awesome!

While checking the various garden beds, I could finally see the purple carrots are starting to sprout. They’re still very hard to see, but they are making an appearance. The yellow Uzbek carrots are being much more enthusiastic about sprouting! I can’t tell about the Napoli and Kyoto Red planted near the south fence. They were pelleted seeds, so we could space them further apart, which makes it harder to see if those tiny leaflets are carrot, or some weed!

The peas that had already sprouted at the trellis are getting noticeably bigger. In the old kitchen garden, I’m finally seeing some beets, though for all my efforts to pull up and transplant the mint out from the bed last fall, they are still coming up strong, along with some other weeds. The beet seedlings are too tiny and delicate to risk disturbing them while trying to weed.

In the lettuce bed, the buttercrunch lettuce germinated a while back and it won’t be long before we are able to start harvesting baby leaves while thinning the rows. Another variety, Lunix, if I remember correctly, as also started to sprout, but like the beet bed, efforts to pull up the weed roots were not very successful. My mother had planted some very invasive flowers in this bed, and they are incredibly difficult to get under control!

The Kulli corn is still looking a weak, but the bush beans planted with them are starting to come up! I’ve got arrows pointing to the bean seedlings that are in this photo.

Meanwhile, all around the various beds, we’ve got onion sets coming up, and the onions started from seed seem to have all survived and are getting stronger. All of the transplants seem to have not only survived being transplanted, but are handling the heavy rains we’ve had, just fine. The first spinach that was planted are growing their true leaves now, and it won’t be long before we will be having fresh greens to eat!

I am so looking forward to when my morning rounds will start to include harvesting fresh leafy greens, beans, peas and summer squash, regularly again!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and so many lilacs!

It’s been a while since I posted a picture of the yard cats. They’ve been really skittish, lately.

There are 6 in the kibble house, plus I saw Rosencrantz at the kibble tray under the shrine. Which, I believe, makes 7 mamas. I also saw Potato Beetle and, later on, TDG and Toesencrantz. I suspect their skittishness is related to the skunks that have been coming out for kibble, too! I’m starting to put less kibble out, more often, so the cats get a chance to finish most of the kibble off before the skunks show up.

While doing my morning rounds, I started bringing over what I needed to start working on what will be the squash patch. That meant moving the wheelbarrow almost the entire length of the lilac hedge.

They are opening up slightly later than the ones closer to the house, and there are SO MANY flower clusters! I just love this hedge. It took my mother decades to slowly plant them along the fence line, starting from a single lilac bush at this end. Which is pretty amazing!

Also, we seriously need to mow in here, but finishing the transplanting is priority right now! Unfortunately, the tall grass hides more mosquitoes, and we’re already running out of bug spray again! 😀

The Re-Farmer

To bloom or not to bloom

We have SO many flowers blooming all over right now! The combination of lilac and crab apple flowers is heavenly!

In the tulip patch, a single black tulip has managed to bloom! I believe there was 5 of each type of tulip in the collection my daughter got. It’s hard to say how many of these would have bloomed, if they hadn’t been eaten by something. Now that the tulip patch is surrounded by chicken wire, which we’ll likely leave there until we need to work in the area to clear out the dead apple tree stump, etc., we have a better chance of finding out, next spring!

While putting the plants out this morning, we had another flower blooming.

This is a Crespo squash, and it shouldn’t be blooming yet! A lot of the remaining squash waiting for transplanting have flower buds on them, but they’re more like the other tiny ones you can see in the photo. There was just this one large one!

We’ll have to pinch off the buds when we plant them, so their energy will go towards growing and establishing themselves, rather than into flowers. These would be the early, all male flowers. The female flowers should start showing up later.

With my husband and I heading to the doctor today, then needing to make an unexpected trip into town, there was no point in getting back to the garden today. Especially with the hordes of mosquitoes out there. Tomorrow will be a day to cover ourselves with bug spray and get back at it. It’s supposed to be another hot day, then the day after, we might be getting thunderstorms, showers, and more thunderstorms over the next three days. So if I’m going to go at what will be the squash patch with the weed trimmer, tomorrow is the day to get it done!

The Re-Farmer