Morning finds

Actually, this first photo is an evening find. While doing my evening rounds, I walked past the feeding station, and found a family of skunks at the bird seed!

I left them be, since I’d rather they were eating the sunflower seeds than the kibble. On the way back, I startled a couple of little ones. This one went up against the house and just froze, watching as I went by.

Such a cute little baby!

On uploading the photo, I saw the strange dot on its head. Now that I’ve “upgraded” by trading phones with my husband, I have a camera with much better zoom quality, so I was able to get a closer look.

It’s a wood tick. A big, blood filled tick.

😥

Poor baby! Mind you, it probably doesn’t even notice it’s there.

All the kittens have most definitely been moved out of the branch pile. I found one of the mamas on the wood pile (formerly a junk pile), so I brought a tray over and put it at the top for some kibble. In the past, we’ve got kibble trays on the ground near the pile, but with the skunks eating the kibble, and a ground hog still living under the pile, I figured it would be better for the kittens at the top. Not long after, I came by and saw three kittens at the tray. Two ran off immediately, but I managed to zoom in and get a picture of the little calico.

Oh, and that shredded orange tarp on there? It used to cover the entire top of this wood pile. It has been torn to shreds by the groundhogs, who have been taking the strands back to their dens to line their nests.

I suspect we’ll start seeing baby grogs in the not so distant future!

I’ve got some heavy duty tarps I found at Costco. They’re only 8′ x 10′, but that should be enough to cover the top of this pile. The layers of wood at the top had all rotted from years of exposure, but I’ve finally reached wood that looks useable, and I want to protect it. Hopefully, the grogs will leave non-torn tarps alone! If I do that now, though, I suspect the mama will move the kittens again. :-/

The fourth kitten – the little tabby trying to get under Mom to nurse – was already at the laundry platform when I first came out with the morning kibble. The other two are the ones I saw running away from the kibble tray on the wood pile.

Unfortunately, there is no sign of the 6 bitty kitties. I don’t know where the mom took them.

This is another surprise find. The Wonderberries are starting to bloom again! The berries they had when they were transplanted have all ripened and fallen away (those that we didn’t eat), but there are new green berries forming, and new flower buds, too!

Next is a surprise find that shows just how wet the ground still is in places.

As our spring kept dragging on, we had a melt followed by a large snowfall. When our angel with the front end loader cleared our driveway for us, the snow was so deep, he couldn’t see where the driveway ended and the grass on the sides began. There was water under the snow, and when he went off the gravel with one side of the front end loader, the tires sank, leaving a trench several inches deep. I’ve yet to be able to mow that area as much as we normally would, because that side is still so much wetter. As I headed out this morning, I spotted these, growing in the sunken tire track.

Do you see those sprays of broad, flat leaves coming out of a central point in the mud? They are coming up along the entire length of the muddy tire track. Nowhere else along the driveway.

Those are bullrushes. AKA cattails. These normally grow in ponds. I’ve never seen bullrushes growing here before. The nearest bullrushes in the area are in a series of small ponds in the ditch along the road, a couple hundred yards away. Even the low area in the old hay yard, which actually became a bit of a pond this spring, does not have bullrushes in it.

I’m going to leave these be. Bullrushes are something I want to encourage, even if it is in an odd place. We’re not in a position to make use of them now, but we have plans to in the future. The more of them that starts growing now, the more they will spread and increase. That way, by the time we are ready to use them, there should be enough to harvest, without over harvesting. When we finally get to turning that low spot in the old hay yard into a pond that should hold water all year, I want to make sure bullrushes start growing in there, too.

Every year since we’ve moved here has been very dry. With this year actually having adequate amounts of rain, it’s been interesting to see what things are now growing where we didn’t expect.

The Re-Farmer

So wee!

While doing my evening rounds and tending the garden (something has started to nibbled on our carrot greens, so that bed now has a net around it), I topped up the kibble trays. Along with going to the pump shack and leaving some kibble there, I also left a bit of kibble in front of the branch pile, where the bitty kitties are.

While walking around the outer yard, I heard the distinctive crunching noises of a skunk eating kibble – coming from the pump shack.

So of course, I went to chase the skunk away from the kitten’s food.

Oh. My. Goodness!

Would you look at how TINY it is!!!! The litter of kittens in the pump shack are bigger than this guy!

No, I did not chase it away. It’s just a baby! A very hungry baby that let me come quite close. Far more interested in food.

So… we have both kittens and baby skunks in the pump shack now!

I heard a noise and took a quick peek, finding one of the big kittens skirting around the pump shack. Later on, I came back and found no food and no babies, so I went inside. I found the bike I got at the garage sale had been knocked to the floor. While picking it up again I could see, behind some junk, a tuxedo face was watching me. I heard movement in other places, so I left.

The branch pile, meanwhile, was just crawling with kittens!

The four kittens that have been coming to the house were playing with the six little kittens in the branch pile.

That kitten in the foreground?

I was able to catch it and hold it for a while. Some time later, I came over and picked it up again, only to realize it was a different little kitten. I was able to pick this one up again when I came back one last time, topping up the kibble at the branch pile, and the pump shack, again.

Hopefully, this is the start of being able to socialize at least some of the kittens!

So many bitty babies!!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds

As I write this, we are still getting weather alerts for another Colorado Low that might sweep up our way. Maybe. For now, we’re at 4C/39F, with an expected high of 6C/43F, and a small amount of rain.

We’re checking the old basement regularly, sweeping the water collecting on the north side into the drain. The big blower fan makes a difference in keeping that under control, too. The south side of the basement is seeing more damps spots, as moisture is seeping through the concrete in patches. I noticed the water level in the sump pump reservoir had gone down quite a bit, so it looks like it got triggered during the night and actually worked this time. No blockages! We’ll have to keep that in mind next fall, and insulate the pipe where it comes out of the house for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve set up a pedestal fan in the south side of the basement to help dry things out. Normally, we’d take the block of foam insulation out of the window, then switch from the winter window to the summer screen window we built, to help with air circulation, but it’s still too cold for that.

This sort of dampness in the old basement is normal; the dryness that we’ve had since moving out here is what was unusual. My brother had all sorts of things set up to help keep it under control, including having a box fan on a platform he built under the window. That fan is one of the things that disappeared before we moved in, but there is still an old dehumidifier. The reservoir for it disappeared, which is odd, because the girls had to use it upstairs when they painted. High humidity was causing the fresh paint to slough off. Somehow, when it got put back into the basement, the reservoir disappeared and we simply cannot find it. Thankfully, I discovered that the drip valve has standard threading on it. I could hook up a short hose and have it drain directly into the sump pump reservoir. Which is much more convenient than having to remember to empty the reservoir regularly! Now that it seems the sump pump is working fine, we know we can turn the dehumidifier on to help keep the basement drier, if we need to.

For now, the fans are still enough.

Then it was time to head outside and feed the critters.

There are the 11 in the photo, plus Rolando Moon was circling around for some breakfast. 🙂

While Junk Pile was busily eating, I refreshed the water bowls with warm water, then quickly shoved my phone right up against the window to try and get a photo of her babies.

There are at least 4 kittens, though I wouldn’t be surprised of there was actually 6. I’ve noticed that she moves them away from the window when she’s with them, and worried that she might move them somewhere else. However, I see that the timer is knocked down, which means the light sensor is always in shadow. The heat bulb, which you can partially see at the top, would be on all the time.

She left her babies in the warm spot while she went to get food!

For those who may be wondering, you can see part of the protective aluminum heat shield on the side. It continues up and above the ceramic heat bulb. There is also a smoke detector installed inside.

I’ve been seeing Rosencrantz around a lot, lately. She is no longer meowing at me while trying to pull me places. I suspect she has lost her litter. Even if she had moved them somewhere else, I would expect her to quickly eat and go, like Junk Pile and Ghost Baby are doing. She just hangs around, and even followed me a bit, while I was doing my rounds. There is still no way we can get into the old freezer where I think she had her litter. It’ll take a few more days of thawing out, at least, before we can move some of the stuff out of the way.

The box nest set up I’d made showed no signs of use, so I moved it out. It probably won’t be used, but I set it up against the house by the sun room window, barricaded on one side with a garbage can to ensure it can’t be moved, and pieces of rigid insulation strategically placed around and over it, so ensure no water or wind can get in. If nothing else, some cats might use it as a safe and cozy spot to sleep.

I made sure to check the old kitchen garden.

Good to see at least some of the snow is melting away. The hose end if from the sump pump, and it does indeed look like water had been pumped here. I’ve got it aimed at the straw, so the water won’t erode the soil away or get too muddy.

It’s going to be a while before we plant in here. :-/

It looks like the honeysuckle got chewed on by the deer! Just the one big stem. We’ll see if that one survives, since it wasn’t chewed all the way around.

I was able to access the old garden shed and took a peek inside. Critters can get into it, and things look rather knocked about. The old scythe is no longer hanging where I’d put it. There’s too much in the way to bother trying to reach it. The blade looks quite rusted, but we might be able to restore it.

Once things melt away in the main garden area some more, I want to dig out the black plastic tarps/landscape fabric (not sure what it started out as, originally) that we salvaged when cleaning up the old wood pile. The plan is to lay it out on the ground where we will be making new, temporary garden beds for the potatoes. Those should arrive around the end of May. The black plastic will help warm the soil up faster, while also killing most of the grass and weeds. We’ll be using straw to grow potatoes using the Ruth Stout, heavy mulching method. This time, we have the wood chipper and can put the straw through the shredder chute, first. I think that will work better than using the straw as is.

While heading up the driveway to switch out the trail cam memory card, I saw something unexpected.

A sunk disappearing under a garage door.

Not the main roll up door, which we don’t close all the way because the latches on the sides get stuck. Not the doors to where my mother’s car is parked, which has a larger gap under one of them, created by critters continually squeezing their way in and out. No. It went under one of the doors to the side where the lawn mowers and chipper are kept.

Critters have never been able to get into that side with the door closed before.

That hole in the ground wasn’t there, yesterday.

I opened the door to look, but saw no sign of the skunk. The back of the room has a lot of stuff just shoved into it to make room for the equipment we use, so it was likely somewhere in that area.

I suspect there is a nest with baby skunks in there now! I certainly wasn’t going to dig around and find out, though. 😉

I was going to just change the memory card on the driveway cam, since access to the sign cam has too much snow and water to get to it right now. Then I remembered that I could access it from the road side of the fence. Having the camera right at the fence like that is a bit of a risk, since it would be easy for anyone to reach it and steal it, however it does mean I can still get to it. With trees all along the fence line, the snow didn’t get as deep, so there is a corridor all along the fence line that can be walked on, right next to the drifted snow, and the piles left by the snow plow in the ditch. This area doesn’t accumulate any water, like on the garden side of the fence.

I look forward to seeing if the wildflower seeds I broadcast there in the fall will grow. 🙂

Speaking of growing things, I got to spend some time tending the seedlings in the sun room, too; rotating trays, watering where needed, etc. They are handling being in there pretty well. I’m a bit concerned about the kulli corn we planted. The sun room can get very warm during the day – it was about 25C/77F in there, when I got back from the city! – but drops to just above freezing at night, even with finding a way to set up a bit of heat in that corner overnight. I’m able to have the warming lamp directly under where the larger bin of seeds are, but the smaller bin is on the highest shelf, which may not be getting much warmth.

One of the first things I do in the morning is turn on the lights for the seedlings in the living room. Last night, I could just see a Yellow Pear tomato trying to sprout. 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of those today.

We need to start more seeds today. It looks like we’ll have to start using the small aquarium greenhouse for those. There’s an open shelf in the mini-greenhouse, but there aren’t any seedlings in the big aquarium greenhouse ready to be moved into it yet. We’ll be having to move the larger tomato plants currently in the mini-greenhouse to the sun room before then.

We’ll figure it out.

We kind of have to! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: moving into the sun room

You know how it gets, when you start one thing, then end up doing more, or go to check on something only to find yourself doing a bunch of other things, just because you’re there, anyway?

Yeah. That was most of my day. 😀

One of those things happened while preparing to write my previous post, and I noticed some deer on the security camera, running up the driveway. I went to check on where they were going and, sure enough, one headed for the kibble house.

The sun was blinding me while trying to take the photo, so it wasn’t until I went out to chase off the deer from eating the kibble, that I finally saw the skunk!

The skunk quickly ran off and, within moments, the cats were back in the kibble house, eating.

Then Potato Beetle politely asked for cuddles, so I stayed in the sun room holding him, which is why I was there to see the deer try and return, several times!

This deer was going for the kibble house because it had been chased away from the feeding station by the three deer I’d seen running up the driveway!

Then, since I was in the sun room anyhow, I started working on the shelf we’ll be moving seedlings onto. With Potato Beetle still being kept in there, I moved the warming lamp to the bottom shelf, which we will leave clear for him, then emptied and set up a higher shelf. That shelf doesn’t get as much light, so the little bins with the tulip tree and paw paw seeds in them got moved up (still no idea if those will ever germinate).

Once that was ready, it was time to go through the big aquarium greenhouse and the mini-greenhouse to collect the largest seedlings and transfer them to the sun room, using some of the bins I picked up.

The two Wonderberries turned out to be too tall for the shelf!! so they got put into buckets and joined the first one on the shelf. They are in biodegradable pots, and I didn’t feel like fussing with aluminum foil, like we did for the first one.

I also had to prune flower buds off the little Wonderberry plants!

It’s not in the photo, but while clearing the extra shelf, I brought down the pot that my daughter buried the cucamelon tubers in. I set it up in the window with the Wonderberry and watered it. Who knows. We might have some cucamelons this year, after all!

Here, the Canteen gourds, two of the Crespo squash, and three of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up next to the trays with the onion seedlings.

A bin with all Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up on the next shelf down. If they look all bent over, that’s because they were starting to get crowded in their shelves in the mini-greenhouse! A piece of rigid insulation that had been laying on the shelf next to where the bin was placed, got set up to create a wall.

Just in case Potato Beetle manages to get onto the other half of the shelf and decides to do a Susan on the seedlings, and try to eat them.

Hopefully, Potato Beetle won’t be in the sun room for much longer, and we’ll be able to use that bottom shelf, too.

This afternoon, however, he was quite content to watch the activity from the comfort of my husband’s walker!

Once everything was set up, the bins and trays got watered, the reflector was put back in position, and I turned on the shop light that’s hanging on the inside of the shelf, where things are in shadow. It was 20C/68F in there, so I left the warming lamp off. It’ll get turned on again when things start cooling down.

Hopefully, the seedlings will do well in the sun room. I’m still concerned about those overnight temperatures. There’s only so much that little light we’re using for its warmth (as is Potato Beetle!) can do, and there’s no safe way to set up the ceramic heat bulb without some sort of metal frame, since the frame of the mini-greenhouse we used before is being actively used as… you know… a greenhouse.

The mini-greenhouse now has two completely empty shelves and, after re-arranging things, there’s even room in one of the trays for more pots. There will be room for the next seeds we will be starting this week, though I think the Kulli corn, which will be in bins, will be going straight into the sun room. We’ll see how whether the bins can fit in the big aquarium greenhouse or not. There is also still the small aquarium greenhouse. Seedlings don’t thrive in it, but it should still be suitable to keep pots until their seeds germinate and, hopefully, we’ll be able to move any seedlings out to a better spot soon after.

It feels like we’re juggling pots and seedlings! Which I guess we are.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

For the past while, pain has been driving my husband out of bed quite early in the mornings, so he has been sweet enough to feed the outside cats as soon as it gets light. Which is great for the kitties, and for me, though it meant I didn’t get to see the morning crowd at all! 😀

Yesterday, I headed outside to see if I could work on the high raised bed garden. It was a no go, as it started to rain while I was out there. I did, however, get company…

The ever nomadic Rolando Moon had been away for a few days, but yesterday she came back. She was still with us this morning, too. 🙂

There are nine kittens and three adults in this photo! Including Junk Pile and Junk Pile Jr. I can tell them apart because Jr. has more white on her back legs.

I had come out to top up their food in the kibble house last night, after it got dark. As the noise of dry kibble hitting metal pans started, there was a sudden scrambling from the cat’s house beside me, and kittens began flailing out of the doorway. It turned out to be full of cats, and I had scared them!

I then went to top up the tray under the shrine. As I came back to the sun room, I went wide around the kibble house, trying to be quiet. It was completely full of cats, eating! 😀

It’s good to know that, as the nights get cooler, they are using the cat house. I’m even seeing a kitten or two through the window during the day, too.

Nosencrantz has started to regularly come right up to me! Sometimes she lets me pet her, sometimes she just wants to be close by and watch. This morning, I got to give her skritches. 🙂

Toesencrantz got to share breakfast with Grandma Butterscotch – but not for long!

When I had come out this morning, I found Stinky in the kibble house. He ended up going around and under the cat’s house, before finally running off. As you can see, he came back, and the cats know well enough to give him space! You can even see Ghost Baby disappearing off on the left. She had been under the shrine, eating with Butterscotch and Toesencrantz.

I was not happy that Ghost Baby was driven away, so I got out the hose to spray the skunk away.

He wouldn’t leave!

Yes, I was hitting him directly with water, but he just shook it off and kept coming back for the food! I finally gave up. I figure he must be really, really hungry to put up with being soaked like that.

Ghost Baby did come back later. Gosh, I want to snuggle that poor baby so much! The other cats tend to drive her off, and she’s so shy of us, we’ve had no opportunity to socialize her. I’m assuming that Mystery Kitten Eleven is hers, which means her own kitten is more socialized that she is, just because it’ll come up to the house, and eat while we are around. Hopefully, over time, she will get more used to us, and the current crop of kittens will be more welcoming of her than some of the adults have been!

The Re-Farmer

New fur babies!

When things started cooling down, I headed outside and checked on the old kitchen garden. I started to pull out some weeds I missed this morning, when I heard a noise.

I had startled Junk Pile cat, who was lying on the beets by the retaining wall.

She wasn’t alone!

What a cutie!!

I saw another one dash around the tree, so I started carefully moving around to the side of the garden…

Only to startle more critters.

I certainly wasn’t going to begrudge the skunks a drink of water, so I let them be (the water bottles had been frozen, earlier) and kept moving slowly though the side of the garden.

This confused the skunks, as usually we never go between them and the storage house. We usually go to the other side and use the hose to chase them that way, instead.

This baby was so confused, it started to follow me! 😀

On the far side of the retaining wall, I found the kitten.

It just froze there, watching me.

The other one came bounding over, playing in the mosquito netting, until it realized I was there, then it ran off into the maple grove. The first one stayed frozen for a while longer before it ran off.

I am so glad Junk Pile finally brought her kittens over! From how many teats I could see were in use, I had thought she had more. I don’t know if these are the only ones that were brave enough to follow her, or if they are the only survivors left.

As I headed around the kibble house – which got its second coat of paint yesterday – I spotted Rosencrantz’s babies.

This little one was hiding behind the pedestal, watching me, before coming out for a drink.

It’s sibling was watching me, too, while lounging on some scrap carpet in the junk pile.

I had been wondering how the kittens were getting through the fence. The ground rises slightly here and, between that and the junk, there is no gap at the bottom. This morning, I saw how. They are still small enough to fit through the chain link… but just barely! Pretty soon, they’ll have to go around to another part of the fence, where there is a gap underneath, to get through.

So that’s three litters of kittens we’ve seen now. Butterscotch and her four, and Rosencrantz and Junk Pile’s, with two each. That leaves Ghost Baby, assuming Ghost Baby is actually female and has a litter. We still don’t know, but are kind of assuming.

Hopefully, we will be able to socialize some of them, but if they just become comfortable enough to come to the house for food and water, I will be happy.

The Re-Farmer

Some critter surprises

I got to see the kittens again this evening, but this morning, I had quite the critter surprise!

To top up our potato grow bags, I headed to the outer hard with the wheelbarrow, with the tools needed to rake up some grass clippings for much, and get a load of garden soil from the pile.

As I headed passed the big branch pile, I saw movement at the garden soil. Two furry creatures, right where I needed to go to shovel soil!

When they saw me, one of them dashed under the branches, but the other froze in place.

Watching me.

Even as I came closer, it didn’t move.

Which means I finally got a good picture of our mystery critter!

It didn’t move away until I picked up the shovel and started walking right up to it! Then it dashed under the branch pile, too.

I have no idea what they were doing on the dirt pile. They weren’t digging or anything. They seemed to be just looking around. Maybe playing?

As I came back several times to get more soil or rake up more clippings, I had to pass the branch pile each time. A couple of times, the branch pile screamed at me! Of all the names these guys have – woodchuck, groundhog, marmot, etc. – whistle pig seems the most appropriate to the noise they make!

Gosh, it’s so cuty.

Speaking of cute…

As I finished the evening watering and came around to the front of the house to put things away, I saw a skunk running out of the kibbled house and towards the storage house. As I went to the sun room, I saw the mama skunk peek out at me, her babies tucked close against her. When she saw me staying by the house, she decided it was safe to head towards the kibble house.

With her THREE babies!

Three! I hadn’t seen the third one before!

Though they went for the kibble house, when I came around the other side to look at them, they all ran off again, this time leaving the yard completely.

While going back and forth to put things away, I paused for a while to say hello to the kittens, who were with Butterscotch at their food and water bowls.

I was never able to get a picture with the calico, though.

I left a camp chair near the food bowl, so we can sit comfortably while letting the kittens get used to us. This kitten was very fascinated by the wiggling toe of my shoe!

I just managed to get a picture of her when she decided to stand up on her hind legs and bat at her mother. 😀

Gosh, they are cute.

We got cute critters all over the place, today!

The Re-Farmer

I can’t do it anymore

Nope. I can’t.

Because I’m a suck.

When we find the skunks in the kibble house, we have been chasing them away with the hose. Today, I went out to do the watering and saw a couple of skunks. One immediately ran off and I saw it head under the storage house. The bigger one kept on eating. When I sprayed it with the hose, it disappeared behind the cat shelter, so I went around the kibble house to spray it away.

Instead, I saw her run off, but something looked very different. She had something in her mouth, and… a second tail?

It was her babies. She ran off, carrying one in her mouth, while a second one stayed close beside her.

I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t chase off hungry babies!

They’re not hurting the cats, nor being aggressive. They’re digging up the yard for grubs, but that doesn’t bother me. The only real issue is that kibble is bad for them, but not nutritionally. It’s about how their jaws are hinged. But we have hungry mamas that feel safe enough to bring their hungry babies to the kibble house! How can I possible keep chasing them away?

I am such a suck.

The Re-Farmer

Furry things, pretty things and growing things

I tried to do another post last night, but simply could not load the WordPress editor, our internet was so crappy. My husband tells me it was working fine when he got up at 2am, which suggested that their system was overloaded, on top of the weather wreaking havoc on our signal. Satellite can only handle so much traffic at once.

It seems to be working well now so, to start, here are the photos I meant to post last night. 🙂

I just had to share this little cluster of family adorableness!

This is part of a strange thing that’s been happening lately. Nicco (the grey and white) is the cat all the other cats seem to bully all the time, poor thing. Including bullying by Beep Beep (at the top), her adopted mother, but Beep Beep is still very much a yard cat in attitude, so she bullies pretty much all the cats. 😉 Lately, however, Beep Beep has been hunting Nicco down for aggressive cuddles and grooming. In fact, as I write this, they are mashed together, asleep on my bed, with Beep Beep using Nicco as a pillow.

The sudden love and attention is wonderful to see, but then there’s Turmeric.

If Turmeric sees Beep Beep and Nicco snuggling, she will go over and squeeze herself in between them. Sometimes, it’s to join in the grooming and cuddling session, but usually, it’s to try and nurse on Beep Beep.

Who is letting her!

The kittens are a year old now, and Beep Beep was never shy about weaning them. For the spice girls, they found solace in “grandma”, who would let them nurse on her.

Very noisily.

Irritating, but when we introduced new yard kittens as part of our ‘population control program’, and she let the new babies try and nurse on her, how could we stop it? She played a big part in getting the new babies settled into the colony. 😉

Any that attempted to nurse on Beep Beep, however, would get smacked away. Eventually, they stopped trying, even on “grandma”.

Until now.

That Turmeric is trying to nurse again, after all this time, is maybe not that surprising, but Beep Beep allowing it certainly is! So is her sudden affection behaviour towards Nicco.

I wonder if it is some sort of reaction to her not having kittens this year, for probably the first time in her adult life? Normally, she’d be nursing a new litter right now.

Curious.

Meanwhile…

We had furry visitors last night, of the smelly kind.

After taking some pictures, I used the hose to drive them off. The big one went running to and under the storage house, but the little one disappeared around the cat house. I went around and fired the hose off at it again, and it ran off towards the storage house… then turned around and ran back! I got some video of it, but was never able to upload it (maybe I’ll succeed today). I kept trying to spray towards it, but it was willing to get wet, to get food. I don’t normally try to spray them directly, if I can avoid it, and this little guy was clearly very, very hungry, and I just couldn’t do it. I left it alone and let it eat.

Some hours later, I heard cats fighting, so I went outside to check. I never found what cats were fighting, but I did find this.

Two skunks in the kibble house!

Neither of which was the little one. That one was over here.

I have a container with water next to the steps that the cats like to use, and I think Little Stinky was drinking from it.

So, we’re now up to three skunks.

I did use the hose to chase them away. The two big ones in the kibble house did not get along, and as they ran under the lilac bushes over where they get under the storage house, I could hear one of them grunting and growling at the other. The little one by the stairs didn’t want to leave and tried hiding under the lilacs, but I think that has as much to do with the grumpy skunk as the water.

Hopefully, we won’t be getting more stinky visitors!

Meanwhile…

We had more rain during the night, but by this morning, we were bright and sunny again, though still quite windy. Of course, while doing my rounds, I checked all the garden beds and kept an eye out for more fallen branches.

The tomatoes are doing fantastic. I don’t think we could have picked a better spot for them! They get the sunlight they need from their southern location, while still getting protection from the driving rain from the trees above. They got plenty of rain, and are showing lovely new growth, with no signs of damage at all.

These roses were a surprise to see this morning. This rose bush is in front of the sun room, at the stand-alone rail between the door and the laundry platform. My mother had planted it there to help shade the sun room, but it keeps blocking our paths. When we were hauling loads of soil to the old kitchen garden, I tied the bush back, so we could get through without fighting it all the time. It worked out so well, I left it like that. It’s a mass of greenery right now, and these flowers are tucked away under the bulk of the branches, having burst into bloom overnight. The other flower buds I see are still quite small. There are more roses of this time in the old kitchen garden, and they not blooming yet, either, so these hidden roses were a pleasant surprise.

I had another surprise I didn’t get any pictures of. While checking on the Montana Morado corn (some of the smaller stalks look a little beaten down by the rain, but all still look very good), I passed the little kiddie pool we’ve been using to mix soil. There was still a bit of soil on the bottom I wasn’t able to get out when I was transplanting the Crespo squash. Just a smattering, sitting at one side. I’d added water into the pool, just to keep it from blowing away, but of course there’s more water in it now.

This morning, I found a frog floating in it.

We’ve found drowned frogs in the bird bath before, because once they get into containers like this, they can’t get out again, and that was my initial thought. Dead frog. I grabbed a garden tool to fish it out, only to have it dive down and try to burrow into the bit of soil on the bottom. I knew the frog wouldn’t be able to get out of the pool on its own, so I tried leaning a stick across for it to climb. That seemed too light, so I tried a brick. That would have worked, but the poor little frog looked like it was having a hard time, so I managed to get it out. I don’t now now long it was stuck in there, but it was looking really tired as it tried to get away from my hands, eventually letting me lift it out. I think it was quite happy to be on solid ground again!

I left the brick in the pool, leaning against the side, just in case something else falls in. We’ll bail the pool out until it’s drained enough to tip over without breaking it, later.

I like frogs. We’ve been seeing them in the garden, quite a bit. 🙂

One of the last things I checked this morning was the potatoes, and found another garden friend.

A pretty little ladybug, on a potato leaf.

I’m happy that most of what we’ve been finding among our plants have been beneficial critters, like frogs and ladybugs, and not the problem critters! Even the skunks are good for eating grubs that would otherwise be causing damage, and so far, other than a tulip, they’ve been digging in the lawn, which does just fine when the divots are put back later.

Now that the weather is turning again, we’ll have lots of work to catch up on in the garden. Especially weeding, but we also have one last bed to build for the cucamelons and the late sprouting gourds, along the chain link fence. We also have pink celery sprouts, but they were started so late, and are so tiny, I don’t know that they’ll ever be transplanted outdoors. We might be able to grow them in containers, though. Then they can be moved into the sun room in the fall, to give them a longer growing season. We shall see! I definitely want to get more seeds for next year, though, and start them indoors much earlier.

Here we are, so early in our gardening season, and I’m already thinking of next year’s garden! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: more firsts!

Okay, this is getting ridiculous!

I don’t think the needle on that thermometer can go any further. What do you think that’s at? 65C/149F? Closer to 70C/158F? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that thermometer get that high.

Of course, the weather apps didn’t show temperatures that high. One of them allows me to look at historical weather. Our average temperature for June is 22C/72F, and our record high for the month was 37C/99F, set in 1995. I’m pretty sure we did beat that, today. The average low for June is 12C/54F, with a record low of 0C/32F, set in 2009.

This is the thermometer in the sun room.

This is with the inner door open, the screen window in the outer door open as wide as it can, and the ceiling fan going at its highest setting, and it still got to about 37-38C/99-100F. There are still a few trays of seedlings (and cups of dirt I’m pretending to expect things to germinate, still) in the sun room while I take the rest out to harden off. The trays outside got misted several times during the day, but a bunch of the squash and melons were really droopy by the end of the day. For all the misting they got, they still dried out quite a bit, so everything got a thorough watering before they came in for the night. Except the corn. They get put back into their bin, without the outer cups, so I put water in the bin for them to absorb from below.

When the girls went out as things started to cool down, they checked on the netting over the lettuces and beets. They ended up flipping one side up over the other, because there were so many insects caught inside. Including several of these guys.

This snowberry clearwing moth decided to just sit there and chill instead of flying away!

We also had a visitor, as things cooled down.

Madam Stinky came over for a snack! Later on, we saw a second one in the kibble house with this first one. I am loath to chase any critter away from food when it’s not doing any harm, but it’s really not good for them, and there is potential for harm. I think they are both hungry mamas. It’s certainly the time of year for them to have babies. When I used the hose to spray them away, the second one, which is quite a bit bigger than this one, did NOT want to leave! It kept grunting at me and trying to go back to the kibble house, until the water finally drove it away.

They’ll be back tonight, I’m sure! 😀

Before it had cooled down enough to start the evening watering, I checked on the garden beds to see how they were handling the heat. Especially the new transplants. I’m happy to say that the tomatoes and sunflowers were doing just fine. Only the bunching onions were starting to get a little bit wimpy.

While checking other beds around the transplanted sunflowers, I spotted little bits of green and pink.

We have beans!!!

These were not there when I checked them this morning, but both the yellow and green bean beds had sprouts, some still carrying their brightly coloured inoculated seed covering. The Royal Burgundy didn’t have any sprouts, but when I came back later to water them, even that bed had sprouts just starting to break through the soil. I’m so excited!!!

While watering the sunflower transplants, though, I got an even bigger, more exciting surprise.

This is a Hopi Black Dye sunflower seedling! I had to check and double check to be sure. I marked the spacing to plant them with flags, which are still there, so I could use them to confirm that yes, these are in the right places and everything. Considering how long it took for just one Hopi Black Dye seedling to sprout in the tray, I am totally stunned that they are already sprouting after being direct sown, just 5 days ago! All I can think is that the seeds we tried to start indoors were just too cold to sprout, even in the warmth of the sun room. Now that I’ve started to take the tray outside, to harden off the cucamelons sharing the tray, we might get even more of them.

The heat may be hard on humans and animals, but some of our plants are just loving it!

Hopefully, the extra watering they all got will help the ones that maybe don’t like the heat quite as much. 😀

After the watering was done, and things had cooled down a bit more, I did decide to do one transplanting job done today, but that will get its own post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer