Today’s progress

I managed to get a few things at least partially accomplished today.

It’s been put off for way too long, for various reasons, but we really needed to get a burn done. The burn barrel is getting to the point that we won’t be able to use it for much longer; it’s simply disintegrating on one side. So the wood pellet cat litter is being put into the metal fire ring I set up near it, to burn the things that wouldn’t fit in the burn barrel. It was getting too full.

Doing a burn in what turned out to be 26C/79F – not even the hottest part of the day – was not going to be fun. Some time ago, while cleaning out the sun room and the old kitchen, we found the parts of a beach umbrella.

They were not together when we found them. ๐Ÿคจ

So I grabbed the pencil tip iron bar I found somewhere else (I can’t even remember, anymore) and used it to make a hole for the umbrella post. The iron bar is only a couple of feet long, but the ground in the outer yard is a lot softer than the inner yard, so it worked rather well. It wasn’t much, but it at least gave me some shade to duck into in between tending the fires in both the barrel and the fire ring.

When it got to the point where I could cover them and leave them to smolder, I puttered around with a few other things. Some of the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes at the chain link fence needed some supports added to them. Then I set the bench I made on the saw horses to clean off the roughest edges with the wood shaver and sand paper, and took a scrub brush to get the dirt off the bottoms of the legs. I went through two sanding sponges in the process. They got torn to shreds, but at least things are smooth enough not to cause injury, even after being painted.

The bench then got hosed down and is now sitting upside down on the saw horses to dry, before it gets its first coat of paint. The underside probably won’t get more than one coat, except for where it will come in contact with the ground.

That done, I moved on to the Yellow Pear tomato bed. Some of them were getting tall enough to add more support there, too.

After that, I moved on to the main garden area.

Three of the four apple gourds are getting pretty tall and starting to climb the poles next to them. I attached pairs of bamboo poles as cross pieces between the three poles, so they’ll have horizontal support as they grow bigger. Only one of the apple gourds is tall enough to actually benefit from the new support, but the other two should be there, soon. As for the fourth plant, it is so small, it’s barely visible over the cardboard mulch!

That done, I decided to water the squash patch – then ended up watering the whole area. For the first time this year, I set up a sprinkler to water the garden. Usually, I just water it myself, but I wanted to work on something else at the same time.

I did find a lovely surprise that wasn’t there this morning!

Our very first tomato that is starting to turn red!

There is one other that has just the lightest blush on it. Both are Sophie’s Choice tomatoes.

Woo hoo!

While the garden was being watered, I started scything nearby.

This is as far as I got. We’d reached our high of 28C/82F by then, and it was just too hot. On top of that, there is a lot of alfalfa in the first couple of swathes, and that stuff does not cut as easily. It also tends to get hung up on the blade. When scything, the cut grass gets pulled along with the blade and deposited in windrows – if all goes well. It did not go well! I found myself dragging cut material back again, and it just did not want to let go! Also, the ground is so rough, I couldn’t slide the blade smoothly across. I had to hold it higher up. All of which made the job a lot more difficult. Which I would have been okay with, if it weren’t for the heat!

So I moved on to another job.

I started using the loppers on the trees by the garden plots. I started cleaning up these trees from the other end… last spring? The spring before? *sigh* I’m losing track of time! ๐Ÿ˜† In the above photo, I’d cleared some branches away from the end. This will make it easier to get under there and scythe later one. However, as I kept moving the sprinkler down the garden beds, I was able to work on an area that needed pruning more. You can just barely see the grow bags in the photo. There were some fairly large, bushy branches above them that I wanted to clear out. I did enough to clear the space above the grow bags before stopping. While the sprinkler was set up over the last beds in this area, I watered where the trellises are from the rain barrel with a watering can. The water was quite warm! Then I got a bit more pruning done while refilling the barrel with the hose.

It was a bit all over the place, but it still managed to be a productive day, even with the heat.

Our forecasts have been all over the place. First, I was seeing thunderstorm warnings for Tuesday (today is Saturday). Then for Monday. Then for tomorrow morning! Meanwhile, another app is saying we’re going to get light rain tonight and tomorrow. Looking at the weather radar, however, it looks like the system is going to pass to the north of us. We’ll see if we get any rain at all! At least it will cool things down and if things work out, I’ll try scything after it rains. From what I’ve looked up, scythes cut better when the grass is wet, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test that, yet.

We shall see what tomorrow brings us.

Oh, my goodness! Is that thunder I hear? Why, yes. Yes it is.

So much for the weather radar being accurate!

The Re-Farmer

Just made it

Today turned out to be quite pleasant out. Though we had some rain last night, it wasn’t enough to refill the areas that were turned into pools not long ago. More rain was being predicted, however, so today was dedicated to trying to get the lawn mowed! Especially some of the area that have been neglected, due to the conditions.

I was able to get more done around the outhouse, and some of the area behind the three low raised beds near the compost ring. I also got some of the area in the spruce grove cleared. Nowhere near what needs to be done, but I at least cleared the stumps from the dead trees I cut down last year. The grass and weeds were so tall, the stumps were completely hidden, as was a tree top that fell in high winds a while back. That needs to be dragged out to the branch pile for chipping. It’s next to the dead tree marked with an orange X in the background. We’ve done no clean up in the spruce grove at all this year. The spirea is reclaiming much of it, even though I pulled them out by the roots as much as possible. They spread so fast! The Saskatoon berries can be picked, but they’re hard to get to with the undergrowth. Plus, the deer at the lower branches and twigs, so the only berries are way up high. The bushes are flexible and can be bent down to reach. I’ve made no effort to gather any. I’ve tasted some, and they’re not very good this year. Plus, a lot of them have … stuff… on them. Some, it looks like an orange powder. Others, it’s a tan colour that look like spores. Things like that. We had only one good year of berries since we uncovered them, but it looks like whatever fungus or mold or whatever that has been affecting the Saskatoons in other areas has hit these ones, too. I think we’re just going to have to bite the bullet, take them out completely, and buy healthy trees – making sure to plant them well away from where they are now! I’d had to plant new trees, only for them to get hit by something in the soil that’s making these ones sickly.

As for the stumps, we won’t be making them into benches or tables until after the dead trees around them are cut down, but I can still prep them. At the very least, I want to cut the tops straight, and debark them. Maybe apply some paint to the top to keep them from getting wet and rotting before we can attach things to them.

I FINALLY managed to mow most of the space in the maple grove. Well. Not most. We can access the branch piles now, at least. The other half will wait for another day.

I finally remembered to take a “before” picture, of sorts. It’s always so incredibly difficult to mow here, because of how uneven the ground is. Last year, I used the weed trimmer, rather than put the mower through it. Not an option, this time. It’s hard to tell, but in the background is where we tried to grow purple corn last year. The ground still has “hills” where the rows were, so I wasn’t able to mow there before. Some of the greenery in there was taller than me.

I managed to get that section done, just as it was starting to rain.

Normally, we would have all that area in the background mowed, too, but this is as far as we’re going to do, this year.

I estimate it took about 5-6 hours of mowing time for what I got done. That included mowing the paths to the Korean Pine trees. It’s been a while since we’ve made our way out there. I had to stop and uncover several of them to pull the weeds that grew up around them. The covers we’re using are not very high, so the weeds ended up filling the space. The covers are working well, but they are already getting to be too small. The saplings are touching the tops already. The one that got dug up by a critter, then replanted, is most certainly dead, though. One loss isn’t too bad, though. It could have been much worse!

Along with the rest of the maple grove, I still need to mow the other side of the garden area, and the parts of the outer yard where we drive that I’d been able to mow before. I won’t have enough fuel to finish the job, though. Any gas budget we have left is needed for the van or my mother’s car, so I won’t be getting more until pay comes in, but that’s just a few days away. It’s unlikely I’ll have another chance to mow anytime soon, though; we’re supposed to get thunderstorms over the next two days, then rain after that. I’m glad I got as much done as I did! It’s been quite frustrating, not to be able to get the work down outside that I’ve been wanting to. It feels good to get even this little bit done!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: things are trying to grow

My daughters were sweethearts and took care of feeding the cats outside for me, as I’m still feeling pretty unstable, so the cats weren’t out and about by the time I headed outside. I did get to briefly pet a kitten, though! ๐Ÿ˜€

While checking out the garden, there was some new progress – and a bit of deer damage – to find.

The Carminat beans are reaching the top of the trellis, and you can see their flower buds. At my fingers, however, you can see the stem of a missing leaf! There was a vertical row of missing leaves, a few feet along the trellis. Right about deer height! Time to find more noise makers and flashy things to set up.

On this side of the trellis are the Seychelles beans, which are starting to get pretty tall, too. None of them show deer damage, which is good, since less of them germinated. In the foreground are the self seeded (or should I say, bird-seeded) sunflowers that I left to grow. The beans can climb them, too! With the flooding this spring, we did not plant any of the Hopi black dye or Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds we’d collected from last year, so I don’t mind letting these one grow. These would be the black oil seed that we put out for the birds in the summer. We’re finding them all over the place, thanks to being spread by birds!

The first sowing of shelling peas may be about half the size they should be, but they are loaded with pods. At least on the north end of the pea trellis. Towards the south end, the sugar snap peas are barely surviving, and the shelling peas on the other side of the trellis are much weaker, too. The entire trellis gets an equal amount of sunlight, so this would be a reflection of soil conditions.

This should be the last year we use this spot for growing vegetables. Next year, they’ll be moved closer to the house, and this area will be made available for planting fruit or nut trees. We haven’t decided what to get next, yet.

The cucumber row is a mixed bag of plants that are growing nice and big, and filled with little cucumbers, and others that are barely bigger than when they were first transplanted!

I had an adorable find at the big trellis.

We have a first Tennessee Dancing gourd developing! It is so cute!

The beans on the same side as the dancing gourds are the red noodle beans. The plants are pretty large, but they are still not at the point of climbing. The shelling beans on the other side, however…

The are much smaller, but have tendrils climbing the trellis, and have even started to bloom!

The most adorable little pollinator showed up just as I was taking the picture.

I startled a bee when checking out this HUGE pumpkin flower.

Yes, it’s on a giant pumpkin plant. ๐Ÿ˜

I’d seen some female flowers previously, but now I can’t find them, so there are no pumpkins starting to form, yet. While we are not shooting for super big pumpkins, and won’t be pruning them down to just one pumpkin per plant, it feels like it’s too late in the season for any giant pumpkins to mature. We’re near the end of July already, and none have formed, yet!

In the south yard, we finally have Chocolate cherry tomatoes! Just this one plant, yet. Of the 4 varieties we planted this year, the Chocolate cherry have been the most behind – and they are planted where tomatoes had done so well, last year. The plants themselves are getting nice and tall, and we’ve been adding supports and pruning them as needed, but there are much fewer flowers blooming, and only today do we finally have tomatoes forming. Thankfully, the other varieties are much further along.

I also spotted some ground cherry fruit forming! These plants are doing remarkably well, given how much water they had to deal with this spring. It took a while, but not they are quite robust plants, and I’m happy to see them setting fruit!

Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before we start getting actual food from the garden. Everything is so, so behind, I am extra happy to see progress like this.

The Re-Farmer

It was worth a try.

I have had no progress at all in the scything lately. Between the heat, the rain and getting sick, it just hasn’t happened.

I got a call this afternoon from the tree removal company. He was in the area and would be able to stop by and look at the branch piles to give me an estimate. So I went out to unlock the gate, then decided to stay and work on the hay from the scything I did manage to do.

This windrow, and what is already in the wagon, is the equivalent of 4 passes with the scythe. The grass that was cut has already grown so much!

I was emptying that first load when the tree guy showed up. On looking at the big branch pile, he had a recommendation for me.

Find a farmer with a tractor that can just get rid of it for me.

Because the pile has been there for so long, stuff on the bottom will be composting already. They’ve done jobs like this before, and the guys end up having to use forks to pick up the branches, because they’re so broken down. It’s a real pain, not not really worth it.

I told him that we want the chips, too. We walked around a bit and I showed him the other branch piles, and talked about how we’re finally planting trees instead of just cutting them down. We will need lots of wood chips for mulch.

For a chipping job like this, he would send two guys, at $200 an hour. At that rate, with what we’ve been able to set aside, we can do 3 hours next month.

So that’s what we’re going to do. Some time after July 31st, he’ll find a day to sent a 2 man crew here. They will chip as much as they can. With three hours, he thinks they should be able to do quite a lot of it. The priority is the big pile in the outer yard, and the smaller one by the garage. If they have time, the next priority are the two piles in the maple grove, behind the house. With those ones clear, we’ll be able to dig up the hose to the garden tap and replace it, so we can have water at the garden again. Anything more than that is bonus.

He did make sure I knew there would be a mess to clean up when they were done. All the stuff that’s too composted for them to put through the chipper. Which is fine. With the big pile in particular, we already have a burnable junk pile next to it. Anything that can’t be chipped will be burned or composted. I don’t expect any of it to be otherwise useable.

Before we worked that out, he mentioned that if we wanted wood chips, he could bring us a load if they had a job in the area, for $50. Since they chipped the wood for us when they cleared our roof and power lines, I know what size their load is, and that is a very good price. I will make sure that we have cash on hand, so that if they’re in the area and can swing by with a load, we’ll be ready for them. With all the stuff we are doing, we will continually be needing more wood chips. There’s only so much we can use the wood chipper we have, since it can only take really straight branches. Almost none of what we’ve accumulated is straight enough! He knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned that. It just gets jammed.

After he left, I continued moving the hay to the garden, deciding to start adding it to the squash patch.

That’s all I was able to cover; 10 plants in total. Which is better than nothing! I did make sure it was a good, thick layer.

Check it out! This is a Baby Pam pumpkin. They don’t get very big. I’m surprised this one is still growing. Given the colour, I thought it wasn’t pollinated and expected it to wither away, but nope. It’s still growing! There’s another plant with a female flower that I hand pollinated, just in case.

Once the hay was all laid out, I took a hose to it to soak it as much as I could. The carboard below dries out so fast in the summer heat, which means it’s more likely to get blown around by the wind. Adding the hay for mulch serves several purposes!

The garden could really use a lot more of this mulch, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to scythe the rest of the area in front of the barn. Aside from still feeling weak after getting sick not long ago, high winds have blasted parts of the area flat. It’ll be harder for the scythe to cut through hay that’s already lying on the ground.

I decided to try something different.

I decided to try using the weed trimmer, since I could plug it in from the nearby garage. This is how it looked before I started.

This is all I was able to get done! I didn’t even finish the entire length to the branch pile. It started to rain, so I put away the weed trimmer and extension cords, only for it to stop raining before I was done. I didn’t bother continuing.

Using the trimmer was much slower and less efficient than the scythe. The only advantage was that I could physically do it, whereas I would not have been able to use the scythe at all with how I’m still feeling. The resulting “hay” is a mess, too. The length of the grass wants to get wrapped up in the weed trimmer, so I had to sort of work my way down, shortening the strands as I went. I suppose the one good thing about that is, the dried seed heads fell off. I’ll leave the “hay” to dry for a bit before I gather it to mulch the garden, so even more of the seed heads should get threshed out in the process.

I’ll try scything the area again, when I feel up to it, but I might have to give up and use the push mower. I would first have to go over it with the mower as high as it can go, then cut it again at least once more, at a lower setting. It might take three passes to do it all. Scything would be faster, if I can cut the flattened grass. There are just patches of those, not the whole thing, so we shall see.

Still, using the trimmer was worth a try, and I got at least some of it done, even while I’m still not back to 100%. I thought I was feeling better until I tried to eat something and… no. Still unstable. Ugh.

Looking at the weather forecast for the next while, we should be able to get more done. If I’m not up to scything, I should at least be able to do regular mowing. The puddles in the yard are gone again, so I can actually do all of it.

I hate getting sick. So much productive time gets wasted!

The Re-Farmer

Morning adorableness, morning finds

No rain this morning, so the bitty kitties were out and about!

This one looks disheveled because I had just been holding it. ๐Ÿ˜ป Not only did it let me pick it up and cuddle it, but when I put it down in the food tray, it just started to eat, ignoring me while I continued to pet it.

*melt*

The little calico acts conflicted. It’s curious enough to slink around, watching me closely, sometimes inching closer, but shy enough to not let me anywhere near it.

This one is not conflicted. It will stay and watch me, only if it’s behind something. It will not come any closer, and will leave it I pay too much attention to it, even if it’s holding my phone off to the side to try and get a picture.

It was, however, more than happy to get into the water tray, after I refilled the gallon water bottle that I’ve set up to drain slowly. They seem to like it when I put the frozen water bottle in the tray to help keep the water cool longer, too.

As I continued on, I did a double taken when I realized I was seeing something new. A self-sown poppy had opened.

When we moved there, we found ornamental poppies growing among the lilacs along the side of the house, so seeing poppies show up in other places was no surprise. This one, however, is a completely different flower! The others are more of an orange, and don’t have the ruffled petals. So far, the is the only red poppy like this we’ve seen. A couple of self seeded poppies have sown up in our beet bed. I kind figured they were from the bread see poppies that we have in a nearby bed, but I know my mother had ornamental poppies growing in the old kitchen garden for quite a few years. When I was a kid, she had seed poppies in that garden. It should be interesting to see if these volunteers turn out to be an ornamental poppy, or an edible seed type!

As for the red ornamental poppy that just bloomed, I’ll be sure to allow it to self seed. This area needs more cleaning up, and it would be nice for the stuff we want to get rid of to be crowded out by something we would like to keep! ๐Ÿ™‚

While continuing my rounds, I had another nice surprise. Our very first golden pattypan squash is forming! It was too small to try and get a picture of, among the foliage. Hopefully, it’ll get well pollinated and not just wither and fall off.

We’ve got a very few other things trying to produce. The sugar snap peas are not doing well, but I did find a single well formed pod.

I ate it. It was tasty!

The King Tut purple peas grown from our own seeds are producing pods, but they are green instead of purple. There aren’t very many, but I have been able to pick the odd pod and give them a taste.

They are not tasty. Quite bitter, instead! Which is different from last year. I wonder if they had cross pollinated with the pod peas growing on the other trellis. The peas did so poorly last year, I would not have expected so. The one King Tut volunteer from last year has produced a single purple pod, which I’ve left to dry out and keep for seed. Now I wonder if it’ll stay true to type. It bloomed well before the shelling peas and snap peas did, so it should be fine.

Some of the Chocolate cherry tomatoes needed additional support. Not all of them are blooming yet, and no tomatoes forming yet. Some of them are growing well, but others, not so much. One end of that bed along the chain link fence got drowned, even though the bed itself it raised about 4-5 inches. We’ve lost quite a few of the shallots from sets to the wet, and it looks like none of the shallots from seed have made it, but I was able to give the yellow onions grown from seed a “hair cut”. I now have more green onions dehydrating in the oven, along with a tray of mint.

I was still able to pick some lettuce this morning. They have not yet bolted from the heat, which is nice. The chard I planted not long ago has started to sprout! I should sow more of those soon.

Though we had a decently cool night last night (it was a wonderful 17C/63F at about 7am), it quickly heated right up to our expected high of 27C/81F. We’re not supposed to start cooling down until about 8pm. Hopefully, between the heat and the wind, things will have a chance to dry up. Yesterday’s downpours flooded out quite a few towns. I’d heard the town my mother lives in got 5 inches of rain in 3 hours, however it now seems it wasn’t quite that much. More than enough to flood streets and parking lots, however. The town to the north of us was among those that got hit the worst in our province, and they had flooded streets as well. We certainly don’t have much to complain about, where we are! Still, it does keep us from getting a lot of outside work done. Frustrating, but we’ll live. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden

I just spent a bit of time going back over garden photos from last year. For all the drought and heat waves we had, the garden was well ahead of most of this year’s garden. It’s amazing how much the extended cold and excessive moisture has set things back. At this time last year, I was picking at least a few summer squash, and even beans in the morning. As much as they struggled in the heat, the peas were starting to produce pods. The melons were setting fruit and looking really prolific, and even the Mountain Morado corn was starting to develop cobs. The cherry tomato mix and spoon tomatoes had sprays of green tomatoes, with some ripening and ready to eat, soon after.

This morning, I was able to give more onions a hair cut.

These are onions from seed, taken from the high raised bed, which had the most, plus a few from one of the low raised beds. We picked so many from the onion sets last time, most of these went straight to getting dehydrated.

Kitchen shears makes the job to much faster. After a more thorough washing, then trimming off the browned tips, it was quick work to snip them into small pieces. As I write this, they are in the oven under the warm setting, at 145F (the lowest temperature our new oven can go).

Even with the onions, there’s a difference. They they are looking pretty good, last year they were developing bulbs by now.

I got to taste our first strawberry from the transplants! It was so very sweet! Not the one in the photo; that one’s not ready yet. Nor the first one that developed. That one rotted before it ripened for some reason. There are plenty more developing, and lots more flowers, though, so I hope we will have a decent amount from our 4 little plants. Hopefully, they will also develop runners that we can propagate, to have more plants next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Still nothing from the bare root white strawberries we got, though. Looks like a total loss, there.

Some of the Carminat pole beans are getting very enthusiastic about climbing! The pole beans on the other side of the trellis aren’t quite there yet. There are a couple of self seeds (or should I say, bird-poop seeded) sunflowers that I am allowing to grow. There are some in other beds that I’m letting grow, too.

I was sure the beans I planted at the tunnel were also vining types, but I’m starting to think they are actually a bush bean. They are getting bigger, but so far, I see nothing to show that they are climbers!

While the Chocolate Cherry and Yellow Pear tomatoes are not showing fruit yet, the tomatoes that were started so much earlier indoors are really starting to fill out! Almost all the plants are starting to show fruit now. The photo above is one of the first Sophie’s Choice tomatoes to develop, and it’s getting surprisingly large, from what I can tell for the variety.

There is a distinct shape difference between the Sophie’s Choice and the Cup of Moldova tomatoes. In fact, it looks like the row that I thought was all Sophie’s Choice actually has a few Cup of Moldova in it. There are a LOT more of the CoM than the SC tomatoes.

The big surprise are the giant pumpkins. Do you see that flower above? And all the buds around it, both male and female?

That’s on the pumpkin I found with a broken stem. The one I didn’t think would survive. Turns out that pushing the broken surfaces together and burying them was enough to save it.

The rest of the squash nearby are not really doing well. Most are still very small, and even the ones that are growing more are nowhere near as big as they should be for this time of the growing season. I am starting to think we might not get any of the winter squash in this patch (the Red Kuri at the chain link fence is doing really well, at least), and we’ll be lucky to get any summer squash, too. The melons are all so small, I just don’t see them making it. Squash and melon all need lots of water, but it looks like they still got too much, this wet-wet spring, and just aren’t recovering. Unless we have a ridiculously long and mild fall. Some of the hulless pumpkins seem to be doing better, but I still don’t think they’re recovered enough to get a crop this year.

We planted SO much this year, and it seems much of it is going to be wasted effort. Hard to believe that it’s pretty much all having a much harder time this year, with so much moisture and more average temperatures, than last year with the heat waves and drought. I would have expected it to be the other way around. Looking at what is working and what isn’t, it definitely confirms that we need to go with the high raised beds. Even the low raised beds, while better than what’s at grade, are not all doing as well as one would expect. The tomato bed is the only thing I would say is doing really well. Most of the onions are doing all right, though even the shallots from sets planted near the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes are struggling at one end of the bed. Though the bet was raised about 4 inches when we framed it with bricks, the end near the vehicle gate had a lot of water around it. So much, it even looks like the shallots at the end were largely drowned out. At least there are more, further down the bed, that escaped nature’s wrath!

I’m struggling with disappointment right now. We planted more then we “needed”, with the expectation that we’d lose some, so that we could at least still be able to preserve food for the winter. Now it’s looking like we’ll barely have fresh produce for the summer.

The Re-Farmer

Next steps

I just got back from the wonderful person who is letting me take cardboard from her food waste deliveries.

This filled most of the back of the van, with room for me to still see through part of my back window.

The stack looks so small, on the ground! ๐Ÿ˜€

The next step will be to douse ourselves with bug spray, then go through each of the boxes to remove any tape, plastic labels, etc. Once that is done, we can start laying them around the saplings as a weed suppressant. Priority is around the saplings, but the space between them will also be covered. The cardboard needs to be thoroughly soaked – rain would be very handy right now! ๐Ÿ˜€ Once we have it, it will be covered with wood chips.

I will easily need at least one more load of cardboard to cover the area, so no hurry on the wood chips right now.

We also got a bonus with this load!

These boxes are corrugated plastic. From the looks of it, they mostly held corn. After they get cleaned off, these will work very well for when we need to store potatoes and other things in the root cellar over winter. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, as you can see, they easily fold flat for storage. I think I got 10 or so of these. I think they will be very handy for a lot of things!

An extra bonus is, I got to see their baby chickens and turkey, pigs, donkeys and alpaca. They’re already doing a lot of things we are working towards and, once we get our chicken coop built, we’ll be able to buy chicks from them!

I am so happy to have found this family. ๐Ÿ™‚

In other things, my husband got notification that my new keyboard was ready for pick up, on Monday. I went to the post office to pick it up and there was no card in the mail box. Today is Thursday, and I stopped by on my way home, but still no parcel.

Once I got home, my husband looked up the order.

It was sent by Purolator.

So while I was unloading the van, my husband called the nearest drop off location, since we are not in their delivery zone. Normally, we would have received an automated call from Purolator, if it was being sent there. When I got back inside, he was on hold – with Purolator. It wasn’t at the drop off location, either.

It turned out to be in the city.

How we were supposed to know that, I have no idea. This information was not included in the delivery notice. It just said that it was delivered.

It’s now being rerouted to the drop off location, and we’ll get a call when that happens.

Places that don’t deliver to PO boxes are a real pain in the butt.

The Re-Farmer

Food forest: silver buffalo berry

Since planting trees and bushes are more long term than our usual gardening, I decided to start a food forest category.

Including for things that were already here before we moved in, like these Saskatoons. It’s so nice to see them blooming again – though you can very clearly see how high the deer ate the twigs and branches! Hopefully, we’ll have berries this year. Thankfully, these are very flexible, so we should be able to bend them down to harvest them.

We are, however getting a frost advisory tonight. !!! Well, our June 2 last frost date is just an average, after all. It’s supposed to dip to just barely freezing, so most things should be all right.

Including…

The 20 out of 30 silver buffalo berry my daughter was able to transplant today!

She does not take progress pictures, though, so I just got a picture at the end of the day.

Even with the holes already dug, it was a huge job. The soil that was removed was so full of roots, rocks, weeds and gravel, she was using garden soil from the remains of the pile we got last year – which is clear across the garden area. After sitting there for a year, it’s full of roots, too, which she picked out as best she could.

She started at the north end of the double rows, next to the highbush cranberry, as the ground is slightly higher there, and the holes were mud rather than filled with pools of water. It didn’t take long before she was having to deal with standing water, though.

Towards the end, I was able to help her out, adding the mulch and watering it just enough to keep it from blowing away. By the end of it, my poor daughter was so knackered, she could barely lift the shovel on its own, never mind with soil in it!

So the remaining 10 silver buffalo berry (I just realized, I’ve been calling them bison berry, because we don’t have buffalo; we have bison. The label says buffalo) will be planted tomorrow. Holes still need to be dug for the sea buckthorn, but there’s just 5 of those. Then there’s the Korean pine, which is going to be planted in the outer yard.

While she did that, I worked on the main garden area and got some decent progress done, too – but that will be my next post.

The Re-Farmer

Kitty cuddles, and more Cat Lady news

I’ve made a post that’s now pinned to the top of the main page on this blog, while we’ve got a fundraiser going for the Cat Lady. I got a call from her while I was outside this morning and got some other news.

With her new cat rescue organization started, she had an interview with a community paper. Not one we get in our area, though. Anyhow; she wanted to let me know about it, because they had asked a lot of questions about Cabbages’ history. She assured me she was careful and tactful about it, to respect our privacy, but also used our situation to illustrate the need for affordable spay and neuter programs in rural areas. Which I greatly appreciated.

She also expects to be able to take another cat to the vet she has worked an arrangement out with. It sounds like it will be one at a time, at first. It will be Turmeric. She has Saffron and Nicco listed on her new website, and has noted that Saffron’s sister will soon be available for adoption, too. She was asking me about keeping Saffron and Turmeric together or not. Saffron is apparently the most chill and adaptable cat she’s ever worked with. Nicco has been getting along well, too, but there doesn’t seem to be any bond between her and Saffron. Which doesn’t surprise me. Nicco never really had a chance to bond with any of the other cats here, as she was on the bottom of the pecking order here. I think she will be much happier somewhere with much fewer other animals around! The Cat Lady will contact us again when she has timing worked out between the vet and the foster families.

Speaking of bonding…

Check this out!

Nosencrantz joined a cuddle pile!!!

She was snuggled right up to David’s butt.

A lot of the cats like to snuggle up to David. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is HUGE, because Turmeric and Beep Beep are right there, and they tend to hiss at Nosencrantz pretty regularly. They hiss at the other cats, too, but as the new kit on the block, Nosencrantz hasn’t learned to just roll with it, yet.

There was another cuddle pile happening.

It involved me.

Fenrir decided to snuggle into my arms and take a nap on my chest while I was at the computer earlier.

This is Fenrir being all sweet and cuddly.

Yeah. She always has that “murder” look in her eyes.

We love her, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Re-Farmer

Phew! Done!

It took almost 5 hours, but I’m done. I’ve sent photos and info to get cats fixed and adopted out.

I had to pause part way through and get a daughter to help me take pictures of Nico and Susan.

It took some doing to send these. She wanted it all texted to her phone.

Which means texting from my phone.

From a cell phone dead zone.

Yes, I have my phone set up for WiFi direct, but it doesn’t seem to work.

My first message was to confirm it was going to the right number, and that took almost 10 minutes to send. I even paired my phone to my desktop, so I could access the photos and type on a keyboard, but it still sent using data on my phone. I was able to leave my phone in the living room, though, where it got a better signal, while still doing everything from my desktop, which ended up working rather well.

It would be good to get the outside cats adopted into indoor homes. No more keeping their butts warm at the melted spot over the heat bulb! ๐Ÿ˜€

As we worked out on the phone, I started with pictures of Butterscotch and Nosencrantz first, with Nosencrantz being up for adoption, but not Butterscotch.

Then I found (or have to take) pictures of Saffron, Turmeric, Tissue, Nico, Cabbages and Big Rig, for getting fixed and adopted. Beep Beep was included to be fixed, but not adopted. Susan and Layendecker were also included for adoption, though they are already fixed.

Then I sent pictures of Agnoos, Tuxedo Mask, Chadicous, Potato Beetle and Chadicous to add to the list of outside cats that can be caught. So 6 more cats to get fixed and adopted out.

Once those are done, the next focus is the cats that are not at all socialized, or not socialized enough. I mean, we might be able to catch Rosencrantz, but that’s it. Rolando Moon is already fixed and not adoptable, anyhow. For the others, they will lend us traps to catch them, so we wouldn’t even consider it until summer, anyhow.

Of the ones we can catch, there are a total of 9 females, at $75 each, plus 5 males. I don’t know what the rate is for males, as we didn’t talk about it. Usually, it’s half the cost of getting a female done.

Can you imagine trying to get all the females done at $350 each?? Then another 5 males at $175? Plus the cost of vaccinations, on top of that? And then there would be the cost of the cats we’d need to trap.

As I was working on sending the info, I got a call from the shelter.

Talk about a completely different attitude! Not at all like that first call. She started by asking if I’d heard from the person she’d sent my contact info do, and assured her that yes, she had called me, and we had an excellent conversation and worked out a plan that will span months. I made sure to thank her again for getting us in contact with each other. She was happy to hear that.

Then she got to the real reason she called! ๐Ÿ˜€

She remembered I had mentioned a new cat showing up fairly recently, and she asked if I lived around a certain area several miles to the north of us. That is where a long haired cat, white with black spots, has gone missing. Our Distinguished Guest is a long haired black cat with a white blaze on her chest and white socks. So we traded descriptions. We’re a bit far from the white cat’s location, but it is possible it might find its way here. She asked about the Distinguished Guest and her condition, and she does appear to be healthy. She wasn’t starving or anything, when she first showed up. I did tell her I think we’re dealing with a cat dump, not a lost cat, but you never know. Someone might actually be looking for this cat, so it’s good to have the word out. It’s not like we can check the cat for tattoos at this point.

All of this is going to be done slowly over the next few months. If all goes well, we’ll have half of our indoor cats adopted out, and most of the outdoor cats, before next winter, and any remaining outdoor cats will be fixed. Which should basically be just Butterscotch and Rolando Moon.

Oh, we had something else nice happen in the middle of all this. While at my computer, I spotted some movement on the garage cam live feed. It was my daughter heading for the gate. She had received notification that UPS had delivered a package for her. I hadn’t seen the truck, but sure enough, UPS had found us, and tied the package to our gate.

The last time we tried to get something delivered by UPS, it was delayed something like a week, because UPS couldn’t find us. It looks like our new sign has already made a difference! Our physical address still doesn’t show up on any maps, but the package still got here, without any issues.

So all in all, it has turned out to be a really good day!

The Re-Farmer