Afternoon in the garden

I wasn’t feeling very well this morning, so the girls took care of feeding the outside cats before heading to bed for the day. I didn’t start the rest of my morning rounds until late afternoon.

Tomorrow is expected to be a hot one, so I wanted to make sure the garden got a deep watering. I set up the soaker hose on the tomato bed and left it running while I did a dump run, then used the warm water in the rain barrel by the trellises and the Styrian pumpkins, to water everything at that end.

Part way through watering the trellises, I decided to set up one of the spray hoses I found while cleaning up around the junk pile. I set up the first one in the summer squash bed, then through the zucchini and some of the Teddy squash in the squash patch nearby. After hooking up the water and seeing that it was working out all right, I tried adding on the second spray hose, only to find it had a large crack near the connector. Well, at least I could get some of the squash watered while I continued using a watering can by the trellises. By that time that was finished, the spray hose had had enough time to do it’s job, and I could continue watering the rest with the hand sprayer.

I was quite pleased to see this fuzzy fellow.

One of the bird-seeded sunflowers by the carrots has at least 5 seed heads opening up, and there were several bumble bees buzzing around.

I love the bumbles!!!

The yellow pear tomatoes are finally starting to turn yellow!

I had some help by the chain link fence.

They were trying to pull out some of the crab grass that was growing through the netting. ๐Ÿ˜

It’s about time to lift the net and to a thorough weeding under there.

There are quite a few nice, big (relatively speaking) Red Kuri squash developing here, and every couple of days or so, I’m finding new female flowers ready to be pollinated. I’m quite happy that we’ll have at least one type of winter squash to store for the winter!

Speaking of pollinating, while watering the corn and squash patch, I spotted our very first female Boston Marrow flower! I made sure it was pollinated and checked the other plants but, so far, they only have male flowers. I also spotted our first G-Star green pattypan squash, though it’s at the stage where it just dropped its flower. Over the next few days, I’ll be able to see if it got pollinated, or if it just falls off.

Still praying for a long, mild fall. So many things in the garden are suddenly starting to grow, bloom and produce fruit but, as of today, there’s only 3 weeks to our average first frost date.

I was surprised to have company while I was watering the grapes! Normally, she would have run away when I came this close. Instead, she just stayed all curled up and napping in the shade.

I got photos from my sister in law, yesterday. Their grapes are almost ready to harvest. Ours are still very small and green.

Hmm… I keep forgetting about that cross. I found it while uncovering the grapes from the spirea. I later learned my sister had put it there as a support for the grape vines. We should scrub off the rust, give it some sort of protective coat, and set it up somewhere permanent. I don’t know where it came from, but it would be a safe guess that my late brother salvaged it from one of this demolition jobs, like the stone cross by the spruces, for my parents. So I definitely want to hang on to it.

I topped up the kibble trays before going inside, including the one near the grape vine. Earlier, I’d seen the newest group of kittens playing around the shrine, so I made sure that container had plenty of kibble, too.

Pouring dry kibble into metal trays can be pretty loud. The sound is like ringing a lunch bell. By the time I was putting kibble in the last tray, I could see cats swooping in from all directions, heading for the kibble house! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Unfortunately, the skunks have learned that sound means food, too! Ah, well.

Hopefully, I’ll be feeling good tomorrow morning. I want to get out while it’s still cool and continue putting wood chips around the saplings. I also plan to collect a harvest tomorrow morning, too. I’m just loving that we have so many fresh beans to harvest – the last batch did end up in the freezer, so we’re getting quite a few bags by now!

Every little bit helps!

The Re-Farmer

Some garden stuff, and a run-around day

Just a few growing things to share from this morning!

The spruce grove next to the board pile where the smaller kittens are living has been overtaken by spirea again. Hard to believe I pulled those all out, just a couple of years ago. They are blooming like crazy right now, and just buzzing with insects, so I am leaving them for the pollinators. They can be pulled up later, when we need access to cut down the dead spruces.

This is one of the hulless pumpkins; a Kakai variety. So far, there’s just the one. I’ve seen another, much smaller one. We shall see if it got pollinated and gets bigger or not.

There is also just the one giant pumpkin growing. I made sure to hand pollinate this one, when I first found it! I am not seeing any other female flowers on the giant pumpkins at all, yet.

I was able to make a tiny harvest of shelling peas this morning; more of the pea plants have had hair cuts by a deer, it seems. Just at the one end, where they are already all spindly, though, so it’s not actually much of a loss. I was able to pick a small handful of raspberries, too. Not as much of either, as yesterday.

I didn’t spent too much time in the garden, though, as I had a lunch date in town. I met with my SIL for lunch, after she picked up the sleep test machine in the city for me, saving me the trip. After lunch, I tried calling my mom from the parking lot, but got a “user not available” message. So I made a stop at the hardware store and picked a paint for the benches. I went with a dark red. I got a gallon, so there should be enough for both benches, with some to spare for future projects.

That done, I tried calling my mom again, and discovered she had called the farm and left a message for me. She had just gotten word that her sister passed away this morning. My aunt would have turned 99, this fall. My aunt had gotten to the point where, when my mother recently visited her, she could not recognize her at all, and didn’t seem to know my mother was there. We were expecting this for some time, now.

I told my mother I had her sleep test machine and was on my way to her place. I was really looking forward to seeing it. The little storage bin it was in was about the same size as the machine I got, when I had a sleep test done years ago.

My goodness, has it ever changed! The test is the same; a pulse oxymeter to be worn on one finger, a hose with nasal prongs, and a heart rate monitor worn the chest. The small box strapped to the chest was the entire unit, with both the air hose and pulse oximeter attached to it. No machine sitting next to the bed, making things like rolling over very challenging to do!

There was a questionnaire sheet that I helped fill out on one side. The other side is for after the test is done. Then we went over the instructions.

Yeeeeeaaaahhh….

No.

It’s actually very easy to use, but the instructions were well beyond my mother. Especially when it started talking about what to do if you turn it on and get red lights instead of green ones. Just the nasal prongs, and putting the air hose around her ears, was too much for her. She was more than ready to not do the test at all, and expressed regret for agreeing to do it.

So I’ll be giving her a hand. The machine needs to be returned on Tuesday. I’ll come over on Monday night to help her put everything on and get the machine going, before she goes to bed. Then I’ll come back in the morning, go through the shut down procedure, finish off the questionnaire with her, then take the machine to the city and drop it off. It’s already been arranged with them that, when the specialist has gone over the readings and is ready with his report, he’ll call me to go over it, not my mother. I can then explain the results to her in a way she can understand, later on. The report will also be sent to her doctor to go over.

Then, since I’ll be in the city anyhow, I’ll stay to do more of our monthly stock up. I will be using my mother’s car again, though, so still no Costco trip, but there is a liquidation store near where I have to drop off the sleep test machine that I want to check out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and their inventory can change quite dramatically from shipment to shipment. I should be able to get deals on things to stock up on that I might not find at the other wholesale places I go to.

So that is all arranged.

There was one odd message my mother passed on to me while I was there. When her niece called about her sister’s passing, my mother was told that our vandal would be at the funeral, therefore I could not be there.

Which is completely backwards. If I go to the funeral, it’s our vandal that has to leave. I have a restraining order against him, not the other way around. Not that I would do that to him at a funeral. I would make and exception. He, obviously, would not. I have no idea what he told my cousin, but I suspect she doesn’t want me there, anyhow. When I later had a chance to pass on my condolences to her husband, I explained it to him, but also said that I will just keep things easy and not go. Our vandal might cause a scene, and if my suspicions are correct and my cousin doesn’t actually want me there, she would be upset with me, not our vandal. I have other ways to honour my aunt’s life without all this theatre.

Since I was in town with her car, I was able to take my mother on some errands before heading home. She is not at all impressed with how expensive things have gotten. I’ve been trying to warn her for months that this was coming, but she brushed me off. Even now, she thinks that the prices are high because the local stores are cheating people. She found an error on her grocery receipt a couple of times (in the 8 or so years she’s been living there), and is convinced the errors were actually deliberate. She still doesn’t get that cashiers don’t actually put prices in manually as they scan her groceries, and that the prices are set into the computer system by the franchise the store is affiliated with, not the store itself. For all my warnings, she seems to think these higher prices are just in the local stores she goes to, not something that’s happening across the country. Frustrating.

I had noticed a weekly farmer’s market was on today, so before heading home, I swung by to see what was available. There was one booth with fresh vegetables. The selection was more sparse than I remember from last year, but I was able to get some fresh yellow beans and a bunch of carrots. The market itself had a lot fewer booths, too. My bee keeping cousin was there, though, and I was looking to get a bucket of honey, but he had none, and will not be having any of his largest size at all this year. The long, cold winter took out his bees. He’s down to only two hives! They would have already been struggling after last year’s drought, too. This horrible start to the year we had must have been just too much for them.

It explains a lot, though. I’ve heard from a lot of people saying they’re not seeing any bees this year. At the time when the bees would have been coming out of hibernation, not only was it cold, but things that normally would have been blooming, were not. There would have been nothing for them to eat.

I had just been talking to a woman selling chokecherry jam (among other varieties of jams and jellies) about how we had plenty of chokecherry flowers this spring (when they finally could bloom), but no berries, and she had said she had the same thing. Especially with Saskatoons. The flowers just didn’t get pollinated. Bees would not have been the only pollinators affected by our horrible spring, either. I’m glad we have so many pollinators now, but the timing of it is just wrong for most berry bushes.

Thankfully, my beekeeping cousin has other stuff to sell in his booth, not just honey. It might take a long time for him to build his hives back up again.

This has been a hard year for all kinds of produce!

Still, I did get a large jar of honey, some fresh vegetables, a couple jams and jellies, and some individual sized pies to take home. Not too bad.

It’s been a long run-around day, though, and I was more than happy to get home!

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden

Oh, what a tiny little harvest this morning. ๐Ÿ˜

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

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

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

I ate it.

It was tasty. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The tree is much, much bigger now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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

Analyzing our 2021 garden: the odd stuff

Since weย orderedย SOย manyย things forย this year, and expanded how much space we were gardening in, I decided to go over groups of things in separate posts, in no particular order and spread over the next few days.

There were a few things we planted this year that we won’t know how they will do until next year, at the earliest!

The first of these are the wildflower mixes.

Now, what we should have done, under better circumstances, was clear out our chosen locations of all roots in the fall, loosen the soil, then plant the seeds in the spring.

Ha!

No.

We just don’t have the equipment for that. Especially for the areas we would be planting them.

This is one such area.

Can you imagine going over this with a tiller, then clearing out all those roots, as recommended? Especially since there are a lot of tree roots in here; I had to go over the area and cut them away before I could mow it.

This is outside the property, and technically not our responsibility to keep clear, but my family has kept it from getting overgrown for as long as I can remember. Inside the fence from here is where we had our corn and sunflower blocks this past summer.

This is where the package of Western Mix seeds went. They didn’t get broadcast until there was no possibility of early germination. Normally, that would probably have been around mid September, but it ended up being at the start of November! I put the seeds in an old bulk-size spice shaker with some soil, gave it a shake to make sure they were well mixed in with the soil, and scattered it not far from where we had just installed the new sign. In the photo, that would be basically right where I was standing to take it. I didn’t want to spread the seeds too close to the fence line, so we wouldn’t be walking on flowers while tending to the fence.

In theory, when the snow melts in the spring, they will germinate and this area will have wildflowers growing in it. The purpose is to attract pollinators, and to make it so we no longer need to mow here at all. The ultimate goal is for almost this entire area, all the way to the driveway, to be filled with native wildflowers.

We shall see how it works, some time in the spring!

This is where the alternative lawn mix went. The area was raked clear of leaves, raked again to loosen the soil (it’s almost bare soil in between the rows of trees, with some crab grass trying to grow in it), the seeds scattered the same way I did with the Wildflower mix, then the leaves were returned as a mulch.

As with the other seeds, I expected to do this in the middle of September, not the beginning of November.

Hopefully, when the snow melts and the soil warms up, we’ll have all sorts of things growing here. If it works out, we’ll get more of these seeds and use them in other treed areas that are difficult to maintain, but we don’t want to leave to become overgrown again.

Then there are my Christmas presents from my husband.

Fungi!

More specifically, spores for morels and giant puffballs.

Morel mushrooms are native to the area, but I have never seen any in the home quarter. I remember finding them in the unoccupied quarter that is rented out for pasture, even though it’s probably at least half trees, plus a pond and marshy area. It’s highly unlikely we’ll have a chance to go morel hunting out there, so being able to inoculate an area inside our yard is definitely preferable! This location was chosen because the instructions recommended several different types of trees to spread the spores under, but the only one that grows here is elm. After checking out a number of videos on how to grow morels, I built this bed for it, with carboard to keep the crab grass out, and inoculated layers of wood shavings and hardwood pellets.

The spores for the giant puffballs needed a couple of days in water with molasses first. The instructions said to pour the liquid over grass, and I chose this area between the rows of elms, because it’s not easy to mow or keep clear.

Puffball mushrooms are also native to our area, though I’ve never seen the giant varieties. These guys are supposed to get so big, you can cut them into steaks.

The thing with these is, we will have no idea if it worked, until something pops up, and that could potentially take years!

At least they didn’t cost much when my husband ordered them on Amazon. Over the years, we plant to get spores from other types of edible mushrooms to inoculate trees and logs. Recently, I went over the wish list I’d made of different mushroom types on Amazon, and the prices are almost 10 times what they were before! I even tried comparing like-for-like by finding the same Morel spores my husband had ordered. The price increase was really shocking!

There are other places to get mushroom spores, however, and I’d rather not order from Amazon, anyhow. Whether or not these work out, I still want to get other types of mushroom spores over the years to try. Types that are either hard to find in grocery stores, or that are just way too expensive to be worth buying.

A very different way to grow food, but a fun one to try!

The Re-Farmer

Bee rescue, and new sign started

Yesterday, looking at the weather radar, I had expected that we would catch the edge of a weather system that was being pushed up from the southeast. Which is what usually happens.

Instead, the system ended up going right over us, and we had heavy rain all day and most of the night. We are expected to continue to get rain today and tomorrow, and remain cool until the day after.

I didn’t think the bee on the sunflower would survive that long.

We have a mini greenhouse in the sun room, so I lay the cover of a seed starter kit upside down on the top shelf, and had a sieve ready to use as a cover, then went to cut the sunflower off and bring the bee over. It had actually moved a bit since I last looked at it, which was encouraging. We had set up a light fixture on the top of the mini greenhouse with a full spectrum, incandescent light bulb in it, to keep our seedlings warm. The sun room wasn’t much warmer than outside, so I turned the light on to add a bit of warmth, making sure the fixture was tilted away, so it was more indirect.

The bee is hidden by the petals on the sunflower, in the above picture.

If the bee were sluggish and staying on the sunflower only because of the temperature, I expected to see it become active fairly soon. If that wasn’t the reason it was still on the sunflower, I expected to find a dead bee.

Since it’s too wet to work on outside projects, I set up in the old kitchen to start an inside project. Since the sign with my late father’s name on it got disappeared from the corner of the property, I decided we needed a new one, as it had been a landmark we could use to give directions to our place. Yesterday, I went rifling through the barn and found a scrap of half inch plywood that was in decent shape, brought it over and gave it a cleaning. Today, it was dry and ready for painting.

We still had some white paint from when we fixed the door into the sun room and repainted the frame as well, and there is enough to do at least two coats.

It’s just a bit bigger than the top of our freezer! ๐Ÿ™‚

The first coat is done, and tomorrow I will give it a second coat. I will also look for wood that I can attach to the back to make posts that can be driven into the ground. The sign that disappeared had been attached to the corner post of the fence, but all those old fence posts along there are falling and need to be replaced, so I want to mount the sign independently from the fence.

After the paint is dry, but before the lettering is painted on, I plan to give the whole thing a spray with some reflective paint I picked up a while back. This way, the background should highlight the lettering when hit by headlights as people turn the corner towards our driveway.

We’ve been talking about coming up with a name for the farm, just for fun. It has always been really important to my parents that the farm stay in the family name, which is why it went to my older brother, who has sons and now grandsons, to carry on the name. So out of respect for my late father, I have decided to simply use our family name on the sign, however I will also include our driveway marker number, with the municipal road name, which is also our family name, and an arrow towards our driveway. The road sign with our family name on it that disappeared when the stop sign it was mounted on was broken, never got replaced, so having that road name on the sign will be helpful for our neighbours, too. Which means I will have two lines of lettering, plus an arrow, on this sign when it’s done.

I think we might also need to set up another camera on it, just in case. I have no proof that our vandal stole the old sign, but if we put up a new one, with our family name on it, I suspect it will infuriate him, and our restraining order against him is still going through the court system.

After I finished with the first coat of paint, I checked on the bee, and was happy to find it crawling actively around the sunflower. I’m very glad we had it covered!

We tucked the entire sunflower into a plant pot (our houseplants are still outside), where it would be more protected, both from the weather and from curious kitties. Happily, it immediately began crawling around even more. Hopefully, it will be able to make its way back to its hive, wherever that may be. Most local bees are more solitary, and have hives underground, so there is no way to know where it came from. At least now it has a chance, and we need all the pollinators we can get!

As much as I appreciate the rain we are having, I’m looking forward to when it clears so I can get back to work outside. I got a transaction notification from my bank, showing that Veseys has charged us for the garlic we ordered. That means they will be shipped soon. Possibly even today or tomorrow. I’ll get an email notification when they do. They will need to be planted soon after they arrive. That means we are running out of time to prepare a bed for the garlic. If the weather prevents me from finishing the high raised bed we are working on, then I will top up the low raised beds we made where the garlic was planted last year. With the new dimensions, we might even be able to plant all three varieties in one bed. It’s typically advised to rotate alliums into different beds every year, but in building the low raised beds, the soil has been amended a lot, and they will be topped up with fresh soil, so it should be just fine. We shall see what we have time for.

Meanwhile, we’ve got a couple of days to work on indoor projects, instead. Like the bread baking I can hear my daughter working on as I write this! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Re-Farmer

Sleepy bee is still there!

While doing my morning rounds, I decided to check the sunflowers and, sure enough, the bee I saw yesterday was still there!

I did confirm that it’s still alive; when I brushed a finger near it, a single, pollen covered back leg lifted up to warn me away!

It’s simply too cold and wet for the poor thing, it seems.

My daughter did some searching, and what I think we will do is cut off the sunflower head to bring it, and the bee, into the sun room to warm up. We’ll cover it with a large sieve we have, so it doesn’t fly off and get stuck in the sun room. If it does revive and warms up, we will release it back outside. Hopefully, it will then be able to get back to its hive before the chill gets to it again.

Here’s hoping it works!

The Re-Farmer

[Edit: I accidentally used a photo from yesterday, instead of the one I took this morning. After much fighting with our increasingly crappy internet, it has been fixed!]

Our 2021 garden: sleepy bee, a pretty harvest, and more rain to come?

While doing my rounds this morning, I was specifically looking to see how things held out after the colder than predicted overnight temperatures a couple of nights ago. Quite a few heads are at that drooping/maturing stage. Others are still in their early stages of blooming. It isn’t unusual, in these cooler mornings, for me to find a variety of small insects in the flowers, not moving much because of the cold.

This morning, I found this beautiful creature.

This beautiful bee wasn’t just sluggish. It was “sleeping”. We were at 10C/50F when I took this photo, and we’re only supposed to get a degree warmer, but I do hope the bee managed to make its way back to its hive!

That we have any pollinators out and about right now is pretty amazing to begin with. Mostly, I’m seeing yellow wasps, probably from that nest at the crack in the foundation under the old kitchen, or the nest in the big branch pile in the outer yard.

Having them around is appreciated, because even though the colder temperatures have resulted in drooping, cold damaged leaves on all our squash, they are still blooming! The flowers don’t seem to have been affected, and summer squash seem to have been protected by their own leaves.

I will be checking on the pattypans later, but I did pick these this morning.

This is actually the second Red Kuri/Little Gem squash we harvested. There is still the mutant, which I’m leaving because its vine is still looking so green still, and a smaller one that is still more yellow than orange. I’ve left our two little Teddy squash for now, as their vines seem to be doing all right, and I want to see if they will get any bigger.

The Tennessee Dancing Gourds were a bit of a surprise. They weren’t the largest ones, which were still firmly attached to their vines when I checked them. Then these ones just popped off their vines when I handled them! We’ve got more than a dozen of these picked, and the vines still have so many more, and more flowers! Even the luffa is still blooming.

How long this will last, I can’t even begin to guess. It’s been such mild fall, and these are plants that are not typically grown in our zone. Our mild fall has extended our growing season by at least a month, already.

It does not look like we will be able to do any chipping today, nor for the next couple of days. We are supposed to be getting more rain. Our own area looks like it will just get the edges of the weather system, but my weather app was sending out warnings for possible flash flooding in some areas. From the looks of the weather radar, the south end of our province is already getting heavy rains. The same system looks like it’s been dropping snow as it passed through the US before reaching us! Since we moved back here, we’ve seen snow, and even blizzards, before now, so I am incredibly thankful for the mild temperatures and rain. Every drop will help in recovering from this summer’s drought conditions.

Oh, my goodness! I just have to share this!

I got interrupted by a phone call while writing the above. When I answered, someone asked for my late father, by his first name only. Without saying he was my father, I told the guy my dad had passed away several years ago. He expressed sorrow, but then another male voice came on, this one with a strong accent, so it was clearly a second person on the line, asking if Mrs. ________ (mispronounced, but that’s not unusual) – my mother – was there. I said no, she no longer lives here. I was then asked if the man or woman of the house was available. I said that would be me. Which is when the first guy started talking again, saying he was from CARP, and how was I doing this morning? I told him that I was very confused right now, so he said he would call back again at a better time.

!!!

I just looked up CARP and, aside from lots of websites about fish, I found this.

C.A.R.P.โ€”A New Vision of Aging is Canadaโ€™s largest advocacy association for older Canadians promoting equitable access to health care, financial security, and freedom from ageism. Backed by more than 320,000 members, C.A.R.P. is a non-partisan association committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Our mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. C.A.R.P. members engage in polls and petitions, email their elected representatives, connect with local chapters and share stories and opinions on urgent issues.

C.A.R.P. membership support creates major changes in government policies and protects the dignity of Canadians as we age. Members are also rewarded with discounts on over 100 everyday products and services they know and love from C.A.R.P.โ€™s trusted partners.

https://www.carp.ca/about/#about

So… I don’t quite fit into their demographic, yet. ๐Ÿ˜€

Also, they really need to update their phone lists! My mother hasn’t had this number for at least 7 years, and my dad passed away more than 5 years ago.

Oy vey!

Anyhow. Back to topic!

After a few days of rain, we are actually supposed to get sunny and warmer again. Hopefully, that will be a good time to get more chipping done. For now, while the rain holds off, I’ll see what progress I can get on the high raised bed. I want to at least get one high raised bed completed in time for when the garlic comes in, since they will need to be planted right away. I also just got word back about getting another round bale of straw, so we should be getting that delivered soon, too.

There is so much work to get done before the snow flies!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: still growing!

Today is likely to be the last hot day of the year. As I write this, we are currently at 26C/79F, with the humidex at 30C/86F. We are expected to reach 28C/83F with the humidex making it feel like 31C/88F. We are supposed to get a couple more days in the mid to low 20’s before the highs start dropping to the mid to high teens. So far, overnight temperatures are also still supposed to remain high enough that there are no frost warnings.

I headed out to do my rounds later than usual this morning, and we had already reached 22C/73F.

There has to be something wrong with the squash tunnel thermometer. It may have felt warmer than the 22C it was when I took this photo, but there is no way it was feeling like 42C/108F! Not even being in full sun, like it is, should result in that extreme of a difference. I suspect the dial is stuck. I haven’t been looking at it since the temperatures finally cooled down, so it may well have been sitting at this reading since our last heat wave.

In checking the sunflowers, there was only one little pollinator that I saw! I think the heat waves we had over the summer killed off a lot of our pollinators. There just wasn’t enough food to sustain them. The mild temperatures we are having means more of our sunflowers are actually budding and opening their seed heads, but I don’t know that they’ll have a chance to be well pollinated.

Some of the Mongolian Giants are finally taller than me. Hopefully, the opening sunflowers will lure any remaining pollinators to them. They may not have time to fully mature, even with our predicted mild temperatures, but they will at least provide some food for our surviving pollinators.

These are the Hopi Black Dye transplants that got chomped by a deer. They have all recovered surprisingly well, and are budding and blooming. They don’t need as long of a growing season as the Mongolian Giants, so it should be interesting to see if any of these get a chance to mature.

The green peas are enjoying the cooler temperatures we’ve been having, and I’m seeing more pods developing. This photo is of one of the pea plants growing among the Dorinny corn, the remains of which are being left to go to seed. The three blocks of sweet corn are still green, but they aren’t really growing. At this point, I don’t expect anything from them, really. They’re just there for the peas to have something to climb. Any pea pods we get is just gravy, as their main purpose is to fix nitrogen into the depleted soil in this area.

The winter squash and melons are the ones I am monitoring the most right now.

Remarkably, even as the plants are dying back, we are still getting fresh blooms, and the newer Red Kuri squash are getting noticeably bigger.

The mutant seems to have stopped getting bigger, and is now deepening in colour and developing a harder skin.

As this other, larger Red Kuri is still doing.

I did a nail test on the oldest of the developing Red Kuri, and you can see the mark left behind. Still not ready.

The Teddy squash are also still managing as well.

If we do end up getting frost before any of these larger squash can fully mature, we will still be able to harvest them and eat them. We just won’t be able to store them for long.

The melon vines are dying back faster than the winter squash vines, but their fruit are still hanging in there! I was able to pick this Pixie melon, only because the vine it was attached to had died back completely. I suspect it isn’t quite ripe.

My daughters discovered something about these little melons. After they are cut in half and the seeds scooped out, they make perfect ice cream bowls! I’m not big on ice cream, but I finally had some last night, in half of a Halona melon. It was quite excellent! ๐Ÿ˜€

I am glad we found these little, short season melons. They have been among the most enjoyed producers this year. I think we will try different short season varieties next year, but the Pixie and Halona are definitely varieties we would grow again. I’ve also saved seeds from some grocery store melons that I plan to try. They are larger varieties, but if we start them indoors early enough, and we don’t have another drought, we should be able to grow them. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Re-Farmer