Finally, some progress!

It’s so bright out right now, I didn’t realize it’s past 9pm, and I haven’t done a blog post yet!

I’m tired.

A good tired!

I finally got the chainsaw out and cut down trees that will be used to build our trellis tunnel.

I started out doing some clean up, first. Several of the apple trees that were discovered when I first cleared this area were dead or partly dead. I cut away the dead parts, which left only a couple of spindly trees.

Then I dropped a poplar on one of them!

It wasn’t supposed to work out that way. The tree was actually falling exactly where I meant it to. Then some branches got hung up on another poplar, which just kept bending and bending until the tree I cut down rolled off, directly on top of the apple tree!

I can’t say it’s a loss, though. As far as I know, these trees have never produced fruit, because of where they are. My mother says she planted them, but they were whatever crab apple seedling she found, so it’s unlikely any fruit they produced would even be edible. My mother had no understanding of how apples need to be grafted, not grown from seed, until I explained it to her. To her, it was all about them being “free”. I know my dad grafted apple trees but most of those died, and only the suckers remain.

Anyhow.

Cleaning things up opened the space to get at the trees I was after. Some of them could only fall in one direction – onto the fence! The fence is already breaking apart, so I wasn’t too worried. It actually handled having trees drop on it several times, surprisingly well! The power line that runs from the garage to the outlet on a fence post I was using had a lot of slack, so there was no risk to it.

A couple of the trees that fell over the fence had to have their trunks cut into two shorter pieces so I could get them free of the fence. I made sure to cut them in such a way that the straightest parts of the trunk were still at a useable length for both. Altogether, I’ve now got about a dozen logs, most of which are long enough that I can get at least a couple of lengths for vertical supports out of them.

While cutting down select poplars, I was also able to finally cut up and removed a dead, rotten tree that had fallen three years ago. I needed to clear it to access the last tree I wanted to cut down. While it was too rotten to be useable for building something, it was still solid enough that the wood can be used as fire pit fuel. 🔥🌭 I was even able to remove some of the little stumps I’d left all over the place, waiting until I had the tools to cut them to ground level. I kept them high, so that they could be seen and avoided, though I still found myself almost tripping over some of the shorter ones!

It was 24C/75F when I finally had to stop – and we were still expected to get warmer! The next step for the logs will be to cut them to length for the vertical supports on the trellis tunnel, then drag them over to where the tunnel will be built. We also need to cut down some of the thinner dead spruce trees, which will be used to form mid-height raised beds at the bases of the trellis tunnel. Once we have the materials, hopefully the build will go quickly.

I gotta tell ya, by the time I was dragging that last tree over to the pile, then cleaning up, I was moving real slow! I was certainly glad I remembered to bring a water bottle out with me. Getting dehydrated in this heat would not have been good.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a cooler day, but we’re also supposed to get some rain, so we’ll see how much I’ll be able to get done while using an electric chain saw.

In other things, the transplanted squash and gourds seem to be handling their transition well. Even the Sweet Chocolate peppers are showing no signs of transplant shock at all! That’s quite encouraging. If the weather holds, I might start transplanting out the biggest, oldest tomatoes. The beds they’ll be going into still need preparation, though, so we’ll see. Ultimately, it all depends on the weather.

I think some pain killers and an early bed time are in order, now!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden transplant status, and good car news

But first, the cuteness!

I counted only 18 this morning.

Today has turned out to be a MUCH more pleasant day than yesterday. We did officially reach of high of 30C/86F, which makes the current temperature of 20C/68F feel downright cool! It was very refreshing while I was going my morning rounds and taking the transplants out for continued hardening off.

I took the folding set of closet doors I found in the shed and set it up on the hand rails of the laundry platform. It’s almost enough to keep the cats off!

You can’t really see them, but the squash and gourds in the bins on the left are getting huge! In the foreground, in the centre, you can see some new Zucca melon coming up enthusiastically. I’d planted more, since so few germinated the first time I planted them, but it’s taken this heat for them to finally get growing.

After I took this picture, a cat jumped up and nearly squashed them, but they seem to be okay!

I’ve got things set up on the kibble house roof to support one end of the trays, making them almost level. The metal baking sheets work very well for that. I should have picked up more of them before Costco ran out! I didn’t expect them to disappear entirely.

I’ve started to take the trays with the most recently planted seeds out, too. A few are showing germinated seeds, and there’s no reason not to harden them off at the same time.

I might actually start planting some of the larger tomatoes and the first peppers this weekend. We’ve got one chilly night expected between now and then and, after that, even the one colder day forecasted has no risk of frost. I want to plant these peppers in the wattle weave bed, which will also give them more protection, as well as the full sunlight they need, plus they would be relatively easy to provide protection for there, in case the long range forecast into June is wrong and we do actually get frost.

The priority today, though, is getting the last of the potatoes in.

My daughter and I took my mother’s car into town to be checked out. All they were going to do was see why the check engine light was on. My eyes have been going wonky at times, so my daughter came along just in case I needed her to drive. We dropped the car off and I explained what was going on, then I took her for lunch. Well. Lunch for me. Breakfast for her. She hadn’t eaten yet! We basically just had to wait until I got text saying the car was ready to pick up.

There really wasn’t anything wrong. A couple of codes came up, but nothing of concern. His guess is that at some point, when we started the car, it got a low pressure reading on the oil, which was changed fairly recently. Once the light was on, it stayed on. He cleared it, but had no work to recommend getting done. He didn’t even charge me for the reading.

I talked to my husband later on about my not being able to use the OBDII reader he got me. It didn’t work before, because of a known Blu Tooth issue on my phone at the time. We traded phones, because his worked, but I’ve since gotten a newer phone. I didn’t expect to have the same issue with the new phone. When he realized the phone simply would not pair with the OBDII reader, he remembered that it works with his table. So if the check engine light turns on again, I’ll have to remember go use his tablet to try and get a reading. Meanwhile, the light has stayed off so far. Hopefully, it will stay that way!

It wasn’t a wasted trip, though. I got to spend some relaxed time with my daughter. 😊

I’m just glad there was nothing wrong with the car. Confirming that at the garage was also well worth the trip.

Well, things are going to start cooling down. Time to get to work!

The Re-Farmer

Got some stuff done, and a seedling mystery!

Well, I am just a sucker for punishment or something.

I headed out this afternoon and ended up checking the push mowers. We still have my mother’s old mower. We bought the other one when I simply couldn’t start it anymore. The prime pump needs to be replaced. Though that’s not the only thing wrong with it, it’s the one thing that keeps it from running.

After checking over the newer mower, I gassed it up and got it started. It took a while, but once it got going, it started on the first pull again, as usual. It needs a new air filter, and I was sure I had a spare, but can’t find it.

Then, since it was running and had gas, I decided to do a bit of mowing.

In the super tall and thick grass that never got mowed at all last year.

In what was probably the hottest part of the day. It’s past 6pm as I write this, and we’re at 29C/85F right now, so it was at least that, at the time.

My goal was to mow a lane to the barn, making sure to pass close to the pile of garden soil.

This is after I mowed over it twice, at two different heights, sending the clipped grass towards the middle for easier gathering. You can see in the foreground, where the grass is greener. That’s as far as we’d been able to mow, last year. The dried grass is all the thatch from last year. The green grass on the left is misleading; it’s just like the part that I mowed, with the new grass is tall enough to somewhat hide the thatch. In reality, it’s almost all dead, dry grass and hardly any fresh new grass.

I raked the clippings into piles; this is after my daughter had already hauled away several loads with the wagon. Once I finished raking, I grabbed the wheelbarrow to help with the rest. The clippings are now in the main garden area, ready to be used as a mulch.

We’re going to have to take the mower in for servicing. I can’t see the problem, but the self propeller won’t self propel anymore, and when I tried to use it, it made an awful racket. I remember now that it broke last year, but we hardly use the self propeller, so I forgot about it. Of course, getting an oil change, the blade sharpened, and a basic maintenance check would certainly be in order. At least it’s still useable. And if we can get my mother’s old mower fixed, we could have two people mowing at once. The refurbished riding mower my brother bought us when we first moved here, sadly, is toast. Not only does a chain keep falling off (when we had it looked at, we were told that, for the cost of fixing it up, it wasn’t worth it!), rendering it immobile, but the tires need replacing, too. They’ve become cracked, and now one of them is completely flat. If we can figure out where to put it, we should get it out of the garage workshop our mowers and blowers, etc. are stored in, because it takes up a lot of space!

Anyhow.

We got the small area we needed mowed clear; next priority is a path to the shed near the barn. Little by little, we’ll get the rest done, but the main thing is access to the garden soil pile and the barn. Raking up the clippings for use in the garden will help with the health of the grass, too, though it will likely take at least a couple more mows before we’ve dealt with all the old thatch.

That done, I did a bit of watering from the rain barrel. Hopefully, we’ll get that promised rain, because it’s going to need a refill!

The transplant trays in the sun room got watered, too. They didn’t dry up as much as if they had been outside today, but it still gets hot enough in there that, together with the fan and the cross breeze between the sun room and old kitchen doors, things dry out pretty quickly.

With the transplants, we have had a few losses. One of them was an African Drum gourd seedling that started dying when they were still set up in the living room. It never recovered, so I took the pot it was in and set it aside to make space in the tray. The pot, of course, dried out completely, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw green poking out! One of the drum gourd seeds that hadn’t germinated was breaking soil. So I found room for it in the tray with the one remaining luffa and watered it, and now there is a second seed germinating!

That was just one surprise, though. While tending the tomatoes, I found these.

A squash or gourd suddenly appeared in the pot on the right a couple of days ago, and now two more have shown up in the pot on the left!

I have no idea how these seeds got in there. I did reuse the seed starting mix from the few pots where seeds never germinated, mixing it in with the potting soil used to pot up the tomatoes, but I was pretty careful to remove anything larger from the potting soil. We’ve had issues with finding sticks and rocks in both the seed starting mix and the potting soil mix. Even when breaking up the soil from the used pots, I remember looking for the failed seeds and never found any, so I figured they’d rotted away. I have no idea what kind of squash these might even be, anymore. There are several possibilities.

Well, when the time comes, they’ll be transplanted and, if they survive, we’ll find out what they are!

With the heat we’ve been having, it is so tempting to start direct sowing – and we actually can direct sow the Montana Morado corn at the end of this week. My sister and her husband, who live south of us, but not as far south as my brother, put their garden in this past weekend. It’s traditional for a lot of people to put their gardens in on Mother’s Day weekend. For others, it’s the May long weekend – Victoria Day in most provinces – which is next weekend, but that’s still almost 2 weeks before our last frost date. As hot as it is today, we’ve now got a forecast a few days from now with a high of only 8C/46F and an overnight low of 3C/37F. Long range forecasts show days with highs of 23C/73F and overnight lows of 5C/41F, or 20C/68F highs followed by 4C/39F. That sort of temperature whiplash would be hard on our heat loving transplants, and we don’t have enough materials to protect them from the overnight chills.

Which is okay. We still have lots of work to do to prepare the existing beds, never mind build the new trellis tunnels we need for our climbers. One of the low raised beds is so full of weeds right now, you can hardly see where it is among the crab grass and weeds in the paths!

One of the things that keeps getting delayed is cutting the trees I need to make the trellis tunnel(s). Which is okay, because it gives me time to rework the design and construction in my mind. We talked about making low raised beds at the base of the tunnels 2 ft wide on the outside, with the tunnel’s vertical supports being part of the inside walls and a 4 ft wide path inside the tunnel. However, we’ve been working with beds at about 3 ft wide for growing space. I’m now thinking of going with beds 3 feet wide, with the tunnel’s vertical supports one foot in from the inside. This way, we can plant our climbers inside the tunnel, and still have 2 ft wide growing space on the outsides. That would add 2 feet to the horizontal distance between the vertical supports.

I think it’s doable, and the dimensions will better match the high raised beds we will be building.

In the end, the final decision will be based on what materials we can scrounge together.

We shall see how that works out!

The Re-Farmer

Look who followed me! Plus, car trouble. Again.

I spent some time just sitting outside before going to bed last night, enjoying the cool of the evening. Having the swing bench outside, to make room for the transplants in the sun room, is really nice.

Of course, Gooby was all over me, wanting lots of attention!

It was starting to get pretty dark when I heard what sounded like the beginnings of a cat fight in the outer yard, so I went to investigate. I never found the cats I was hearing, but the sound of frogs from the pond and gravel pit was so loud, I decided to go the outer yard fence and try and capture it on video. The grass from last year is still tall, but now has new growth in it, so it took some effort to get through!

I was in the middle of taking a short video when I could hear something in the grass behind me, coming closer and closer.

Then my legs got attacked.

In a loving way!

Make sure your speakers are on, to hear all the frogs!

I made sure to carry him back with me. I wouldn’t want an owl to make off with him!

Gooby just can’t seem to get enough attention from humans.

In other things, I made a quick trip to the post office to pick up a parcel this morning, and the check engine light turned on in my mother’s car.

*sigh*

My daughter did the driving yesterday and it had turned on then. I heard the ding when it turned on, but didn’t know what it was. She assumed I already knew about it, but it had not turned on before. I tried hooking up my OBDII reader, but it won’t connect with my phone. I had the problem before, and it was a problem with the phone’s BluTooth, not the reader. I have a new phone now and this is the first time I’ve tried to use the reader with it.

So I contacted our mechanic about it. I can drop by any time tomorrow afternoon and they’ll check it out.

Right now, we’re not using the van at all until we can get it to the garage to get a noise checked out. We won’t have the budget for that until next month. My mother’s car, however, is a higher priority right now. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, we’ll have to dip into the money being set aside for a down payment on replacement van. Which would really suck. Hopefully, it will be something minor.

Today is not going to be a very productive day outside. In fact, I’m not even taking the transplants outside to harden off today. As I write this, we are already at 27C/81F, and may reach as high as 30C/86F by the evening, depending on which app I look at. We don’t have a shady spot to set out the transplants, and I don’t want them to get sunburned or bake in their pots.

It also means, no one is going to be doing things like sifting the garden soil and hauling wheelbarrow loads over, to fill the bags we’ll be planting the potatoes in, until things start cooling off. Looking at the forecast for the day, that likely won’t be until tomorrow morning. We’re supposed to reach our hottest temperatures at about 4pm, and stay hot for several hours. The days are getting longer, but not that long!

Still, I’m hoping to get at least some things done. We need to break out the wood chipper, so we can run straw from last year’s deep mulch beds through the shredder, as well as some of the wood chips from the pile. The big commercial wood chipper the tree guys have did a great job of breaking down the branch piles that our wood chipper can’t do – mostly because they are too crooked to fit into the chipper! – but the resulting chips are quite course. That’s fine for mulching around trees, or to add among the layers filling a new raised bed, but is a bit hard to work around when used as mulch on the top of a garden bed. Plus, breaking the straw or wood chips down finer means they will break down into the soil faster, too, and our soil really needs that organic matter.

We are also going to have to break out the lawn mower! Especially in the outer yard, in front of the barn, where we were unable to mow last year. If we don’t get that under control quickly, it’s going to be a lot more difficult later on. Plus, grass clippings are gold, and we’ll need a lot of it for the garden beds! I don’t even bother putting on the grass catcher. It fills too quickly. Plus, I find that if I let the clippings sit for a couple of days to dry, then rake it up, it’s easier to work with.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to reach “only” about 18 or 20C/64 or 68F, and then get some rain the day after, so I hope to get at least the area around the pile of garden soil mowed, so I’m not fighting the wheelbarrow through tall grass with every load.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: potatoes chitting, and progress video

Okay, it took WAY longer than it should have, but I finally finished a video I was working on. I ended up leaving my computer on all night to upload it. I don’t know that I’m happy with it, but it shows what I want it to show, and that’s the main thing.

First, though…

I took the potatoes that came in yesterday and laid them out on egg trays to chit for a bit longer. They all already have shoots, so we’ll need to get them into the feed bag-grow bags we’ll be using this year, soon.

These are the Purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes.

They don’t look very purple!

None look like they need to be cut into smaller pieces, so I won’t see how purple they are on the inside, but when these come fresh out of the ground, they are so dark a purple, they’re almost black. Right now, there’s just purple in the new growth.

It’s the same thing with the Red Thumb fingerlings. If it weren’t for the red cast to the shoots, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from these ones. At least the Irish Cobbler ones look more distinctive, just because they’re not a fingerling variety!

For now, they’re all laid out in the trays and set up in the sun room.

While going my rounds this morning, I checked the planted beds. I can’t see that any poppies are coming up, but there may be seedling coming up in the areas planted with the alternative lawn mix. There are most definitely spinach seedlings coming up, though! As for the carrots… I may have goofed. There are lots of things coming up in there. Mostly dandelions. So much for weeding out as many roots as we could! But I can’t see anything that looks like carrots coming up. The problem may be their cover. Once planted, it’s really important that carrot seeds never dry out. That’s why I put the hoops and covered them with plastic. The thing is, it likely got too hot for them under there. Perfect conditions for any weeds, but not for carrot seeds.

I uncovered the bed yesterday, to allow the bed to be rained on. We’ll watch closely over the next while and if they don’t germinate, I’ll replant the bed. We used the entire packet of a new variety of seeds in there, but I have two other varieties waiting to be planted.

Speaking of which, we have pretty much decided not to transplant those teeny little mulberry saplings. At least not outside, this year. What we’ll most likely do is put them up into larger pots and wait until they are larger and more likely to survive being outside.

We’ve also decided to plant that apple tree in the more sheltered spot in the West yard. We’ll have to clear away some dead and dying trees, first, so it might still be a day or two.

The bed along the chain link fence is also ready for a proper weeding now, and we can finally plant our peas.

Lots of work to be done!

But first, here is the video showing the transformation of the Old Kitchen garden, and then I have to go pick up some parcels in the mail!

Please feel free to watch the video on YouTube, like, subscribe, leave a comment, etc.. Any feedback, here or on YouTube (I’ll later upload it to Rumble, too) would be greatly appreciated.

Enjoy!

(Also, I need to learn how to make a thumbnail image to properly fit! 😂😂)

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

Our 2023 Garden: moving day, finished!

It took quite a few trips and a fair bit of rearranging, but all the transplants that were in the living room are now in the sun room!

There is a down side to not being able to close the outer door for the sun room. To keep the cats out, that means closing the inner door. The outer door has a screen window.

We reached a high of 21C/70F today, but the sun room reached 27C/81F! And the only air circulation is the ceiling fan. We are keeping the inner door into the old kitchen open. The outer door has a screen window, and with the old kitchen staying so much cooler, it should help at least a little bit. While it will help keep the sun room temperature down a bit, it will also warm up the old kitchen, so it’s a trade off.

Hmmm. I just remembered. I think we have a spare hook and eye closure somewhere. If I can find that, we can latch the outer sun room door from the inside. That would help. We’d still have to close the inner door for the night, so we don’t lose too much heat, but that’s okay.

Meanwhile…

I got the second light hung up and plugged into the first one. We are pretty much out of trays and bins to hold all the transplants, and I’m not finding more like the ones we have. We do still have a couple more of the black plastic trays, but they’re not very strong, and some of them have started to crack. I’ve been doubling them up, anyhow, just for the extra strength, and that way I can also use the cracked ones without leaking water everywhere.

There’s still a bit of room on the shelf! Those peppers had been in the big aquarium greenhouse and will need potting up, but I think they’ll enjoy being here for a while, first. They, at least, will really like the heat in here! I’m hoping the oregano and spearmint will do better here, too. They are not doing as well as the oregano and second variety of thyme we planted more recently are. I think the sad little luffa will like it better in this heat, too. In fact, depending on how things go, we might even try growing it in a pot in the sun room, instead of outside, this year.

We are expected to cool down a bit over the next few days, with Sunday being the coolest at 10C/50F. Tomorrow is supposed to reach 15C/59F, so it should be a good day to continue working in the old kitchen garden and finish that last bed. I’ll start hydrating my trays with the Jiffy pellets, so they’ll be ready for starting seeds the next day.

The priority for tomorrow, though, will be to go to the post office and pick up those raspberries that are in! We’ll want to plant those as soon as possible.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: moving day! and cat damage. 😥

Today, we’re supposed to reach a high of 20C/68F. It’s not even noon yet, and we’re already 17C/63F. Considering that yesterday, while working in the old kitchen garden, I was getting too hot at 16C/61F, my plan was to start on the other bed earlier in the day, while things were still cooler.

My daughter, however, made so much progress cleaning out the sun room (even though she was not feeling well, she kept at it!) that I changed my mind. Living things take priority, and our transplants really need to be moved out of the living room!

After a bit more organizing, arranging and setting up, this is what the sun room looks like now.

The largest plants – the Crespo squash and gourds – went on the shelf between the smaller windows, where they have a combination of the most space, and the most sunlight. I’ve got a tray with our first peppers and the lemon grass there for now, but that will likely be moved, later.

The swing bench was removed completely and will stay outside for now. That allowed me to set up the “table” along the west facing windows. There is a light hanging above them, as this area tends to get darker faster, and a second light will be moved over later. The tallest tomatoes went onto here.

I should probably start hardening off the onions. They can be transplanted before last frost, and could actually be out right now. At least the shallots. They’ll be going into the tiny bed in the old kitchen garden. I have not yet decided were to plant the red and yellow onions. They will likely be planted in between other things. I figure at least some of them will be going into the wattle weave bed. We’ll see.

Three trays of the Roma tomatoes got moved over as well. If I can arrange things well enough, I hope to move all the transplants from the living room here, except the ones that need to be potted up. Then I can start the last batch of seeds in the next few days, as this Friday is 4 weeks from our last frost date.

Before setting the shelves up, I found a solution for how to hang the lights. I put a pair of cup hooks in the old kitchen wall, and another pair inside the window frame opposite. I strung a rope across the window. I then attached two more ropes to the first on, in such a way that they can easily be slid from side to side. Those lines went up and over the black shelf. You can see one of them in the photo above. The lights have hanging chains with carabiners at the ends. I’ve got a light with its chain hanging from one of the hooks in the old kitchen wall, and the other being held up by the rope set up. I took advantage of the hooks on the old kitchen wall to hold the extension cord up and out of the way. Last year, I’d put a hook in between the two west facing windows and had a power bar set up. I likely won’t need it. These lights can be plugged into each other, so that only one needs to be plugged into a power source.

It is so good to finally get the plants in here! Plus, we can leave the ceiling fan going, so there’s a breeze to help strengthen their stems. Some of the Roma tomatoes are not doing well, and I think we lost some of both those and the Spoon tomatoes. We have so many, though, we will still have lots. I’m hoping the sun room will be a better environment for them.

Of course, this means we have to keep the sun room door closed, and I made a discovery. We’ve had the doors propped open slightly all winter, so the cats could go in and out. Today is the first time anyone has tried to close the doors in months.

The outside door won’t close.

That’s the one we had to replace with a salvaged door. It seems the sun room has shifted again, because the door is now getting stuck at the top. We’ll have to remove some of the wood again.

There was only one down side to this morning’s progress.

Cat damage.

It seems there was an altercation in my room while I was away. The corner of my craft table, where I also now have the cat shelf under the window, is my tea station. I came in to find the cat blanket knocked off the shelf and hanging over my tea stuff. There happened to be one of those big A&W mugs on the table. It was on the floor, in pieces. I was in the middle of things, so I messaged the girls to take care of it for me.

Along with the broken mug, they found these.

My lizard incense holder has lost his head! Sadly, the lid to my (fake) sugar bowl was cracked and (fake) sugar was spilled all around. The matching creamer was among the things broken by the movers, but I think I can glue these two back together.

I really wish I could leave my door open!

Ah, well.

Later on, I’ll see about taking care of the rest of the transplants. The old kitchen garden can wait another day.

Oh! I just checked the post office tracking! Our raspberries are in! Unfortunately, today is Wednesday, and the store closes at noon, so the post office is, too. I’ll have to pick those up, tomorrow! The trees and potatoes tracker still says they’ll be in on on May 9.

I’m really looking forward to planting the trees and bushes!

The Re-Farmer

Found it! Also, my mother’s car is very small

I had a bit of time this morning to prepare before working on the old kitchen garden. My plan had been to use the four foot length of logs left over from when the branch piles were chipped to build up the walls of garden bed, end to end, held in place by stakes. As I was doing other stuff around the spruce grove yesterday, I realized a tree top from a dead tree we’d cut down was still stuck in the cherry trees we need to get rid of (they are non-productive, and invasive), and it was nice, long and straight.

So this morning I worked on getting that out, then went through the spruce grove to see if there were other dead trees that were already on the ground I could make use of. That was then I spotted something red among the dead grasses.

Look what I found!

These are the bird feeder parts that disappeared, a year and a half or so ago!

This was about 40 yards away from where it had been hanging. No wonder I couldn’t find it back then! I guess it really was the racoons that stole it away.

The cannister was still intact, but the rest was broken into many pieces, which got cleaned up.

I did manage to find more useable trees that I dragged closer to the old kitchen garden, and then I headed out to see my mother. I left early because I wanted to go to the pharmacy first, then grabbed some fried chicken and wedges for lunch. My mother has told me not to, in the past, because she decided the chicken was making her sick, but she had no complaints at all when I showed up with it! The other choices weren’t open today, or opening later, so there wasn’t much choice.

So we had lunch, then she gave me a list of the few things she needed at the grocery store and I picked those up for her. While visiting longer after that, I discovered our vandal has been swinging by her place again, and had left more phone messages. I listened to those and recorded them with my phone. I’m concerned, because our restraining order is expiring about now. I’d hoped to not need to file to renew it. I still sometimes see him on the security cameras, just going by. He hasn’t been doing things like coming up to the gate and messing with it, or giving the finger down the driveway, nor has he done things like follow me home and yell at us from the road – but once the restraining order is expired, there’s nothing to prevent him from starting that up again. From his messages, he’s clearly still obsessed with us living here on the farm, and still portrays himself as a victim, and me as trying to put him in jail and destroy his life. Truth is, I don’t even think about him until he shows up on the camera files, or starts bothering my mom again.

Frustrating.

Anyhow.

After finishing up my visit with my mother, I went to the hardware store. I found some things to use to keep the frames I want to build from bowing out, and also to pull in the walls of the raised beds. The long sides are made with board that are 6′ pieces and 3′, joined by attaching them to pieces of 2×4. What I didn’t expect was for the 2×4 to start splitting lengthwise! So all three beds are bowing out, some more than others, at the joins. If I can get those pulled in and straight again, the frames I want to build will sit properly on top.

For the frames, I wanted to get 1″x2″x10′ boards, but when I got there, they only went up to 8′ long. Since these will be moved around a lot, I did not want to be cobbling the long sides together to make 9′. The next option was 1″x4″x12′ I’d intended to get a dozen of the 1″x2″, but went with 10 of the larger size. After taxes, it came out to just over $80, which was more than I’d wanted to spend! But, I needed the lumber.

So I got the lumber, then drove into the yard to have it loaded into the car.

Slight problem with not using the van right now.

If I’d been able to get the 10′ size, it would have worked, but at 12′ long… well…

I folded down the front passenger seat, so they could be slide right up to the windshield, but they were still sticking out the back. They gave me a flag, but didn’t have any ties. I had to go back inside and buy a couple. The car happens to have metal loops on the sides so I could attach the longer one across the boards to secure them, but I still had to secure the hatch. The shorter tie was still too long. I went back in to try and find shorter one, but there was nothing. The hatch had a small hole I could put the hook into and that’s all there was to secure it there, so it’s not like I could use rope or something. I ended up pushing the end of the tie through the loop in the middle that the hatch locks into, shortening it a bit, and that was the best I could do.

I drove home doing only 80km/h all the way (speed limit on the highway is 100km/h), with one arm over the boards! I did pull over at one point to adjust them higher into the front of the car, and even used the flag to tie around the ends of the boards (in the photo, it runs under one board, to keep it from sliding off), just to secure them a little bit more.

The ties I got are going to stay in the car, and I’ll probably get some cord or rope to include in our emergency kit, too! That’s the red and black bag to the right of the lumber in the photo.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how these 4″ boards would be just too wide for the frames I want to build, when it finally occurred to me that I could just cut them in half, length wise!

Which means, I could have gotten away with buying only 6 of them, instead of 10.

Ah, well. It’s not like the extra will go to waste!

So that’s the plan with these. After I’m done with the old kitchen garden, and the girls have finished with the sun room, I’ll drag the table saw out of the sun room and use it to cut a few of the boards in half, length wise, to start with and then build the first frame. I think I’ll make the first one over the spinach bed. I don’t like the floating row cover sitting right on top of the soil. As light as it is, it just seems like it’ll weigh down the seedlings when they germinate. That will be my prototype, so if I need to make any changes in the plans I have in mind, I’ll do that when making a cover to replace the hoops and plastic over the carrots.

But that will have to wait.

I’m not sure if I’ll be working on the old kitchen garden tonight, anymore. It’s supposed to be warm out there – we’re at 11C/52F but the winds are still high. It’s not just about being chilly. Even with a hat on and wearing the hood on my jacket, I still got ear aches from the wind.

We shall see.

I’m hoping to be able to set up for another time lapse video of the process. I have a GorillaPod to hold the phone I’m using to record video, but it’s a smaller one, which limits what I can attach it to. There are several options, though, so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

I’ll decide whether I’ll start on it tonight or tomorrow, when I do my evening rounds and see what the conditions are like.

Now that I’ve got the lumber, though, I’m really itching to build those frames!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: winter survivors!

But first, the cuteness!

I was able to zoom in to get a shot of Brussel and Sprout, sharing the tray under the water shelter. When I first came out this morning, I saw only about a 14 cats, but more kept showing up, including these two. I think I counted 22 in total, with some of them skulking around in the distance, waiting for me to leave the food area.

While doing my evening rounds, I took the winter mulch, which was corn stalks, off the asparagus and sunchoke beds. There is still no sign of the sunchokes or the asparagus, but…

… the four strawberry plants that share the asparagus bed were looking great! I wasn’t sure if they’d survive the winter. Not only did they survive, but they are looking better now than they did at the end of the season, last year! I’m hoping they’ll put out more runners this year, that we’ll transplant elsewhere. Strawberries are among the plants we want to have a lot of. They’re so incredibly expensive in the grocery stores!

Of course, I had to check on the crocuses and found this little guy.

The very first yellow crocus! There are a lot of purple ones blooming this morning, and a lot of white buds showing up, but still just the one yellow buds visible.

I should make a point of checking the bed I inoculated with morel spawn more often. May is the time of year they usually fruit. It would be cool if the giant puff balls emerged, too, but if they do, it’ll be later in the season.

It’s a good thing today is Sunday, which I try to keep as a day of rest. I didn’t do a lot when reclaiming the bed to plant poppies yesterday, but it was enough to increase the pain levels. It’s turning out to be a really windy day, too. So, tomorrow will be my day to really get into the manual labour needed in the old kitchen garden. Hopefully, at the very least, the winds will die down!

The Re-Farmer