Kitty cats and sour cherries

I’m happy to say that I’ve been seeing Potato Beetle around. He joined me while I was tending things in the garden, yesterday evening.

The cats do like the cardboard mulch around the silver buffalo berry!

Unfortunately, he’s a bit too spry and back to normal. He went after Rolando Moon. Then I saw him and Sad Face stalking each other. I broke that up before it became an actual fight, only to later see him stalking The Distinguished Guest!

I dissuaded them from fighting, but Potato Beetle is looking like he’s wanting to reestablish his top spot in the pecking order.

Aren’t they supposed to be less aggressive after losing their nibs?

Well. At least he’s staying close to home.

He showed up this morning, while I was putting kibble out, but he had no interest in the other trays. He wanted his personal food dish in the sun room! So I let him in and left the door open, so he could come and go as he pleased.

While doing my morning rounds, I took recordings for a new garden tour video. I’ll be working on editing it later today.

I also had a chance to pick cherries.

These are the cherries that I could reach without a ladder. I could pull some branches down, but there are still plenty higher up that need to be picked. The gallon bucket was about 3/4 full. These have been laid out in a pair of trays in a single layer, and are in the big freezer. Once they’re frozen, we’ll bag them up. I wouldn’t mind trying to make wine with these. It’s bee a long time since we’ve tried to make wine. The problem is having a cat-safe space for the carboy. There just isn’t any. 😕😒

After washing off the cherries with the hose, I starting into the sun room, only to find the netting I’d put on the swing bench, on the floor in front of the door.

The bench was occupied.

The sun room was just crawling with kittens! These three, and their mama, were relaxing, but you can just see the tail tip of the one that ran between the window and the bench. Some of the big kittens were in there, too. My presence was panicking them, though. One ran into a window, and another into the back of the inner door, trying to get out. *sigh* So I was careful to skirt around and make sure they could access the door as I picked up the netting, then brought the cherries inside. The mama ran off, too, but the three kittens in the photo, stayed.

That mama has this permanent angry expression on her face. 😄

Today is looking to be a really nice day for work outside, so I’m going to see what I can catch up on. Maybe say hello to the cows. I can see them on the security camera’s live feed, at the fence along the driveway. 😊

Mostly, though, I need to finish mowing. After working in the old garden area last time, though, I had better check the blade and see if I need to sharpen it, first!

The Re-Farmer

2022 garden: morning in the garden

Just a little big of progress in the garden.

The sour cherry tree by the house has lots of ripe berries, ready to be picked. I’ll have to get the girls to do it, though. A ladder will be needed to reach the ripest ones at the top. This is the most cherries we’ve had since moving here.

We got a pretty decent amount of yellow bush beans this morning. Not enough to make it worth blanching and freezing, never mind canning, but enough for a couple of meals this time.

The purple pole beans are getting more pods, though they are still very thin. I saw the first of the green pole bean pods this morning – tiny wisps of pods! Still no sign of pods, or even flowers, on the red pole beans, while the shelling beans still have lots of flowers, but no pods that I can see.

We should be able to harvest the garlic from this bed pretty soon.

One of the Baby Pam pumpkins is starting to turn colour. This variety doesn’t get much bigger than this. From the looks of it, these are going to be the only winter squash we get out of this patch, other than maybe one kakai hulless seed pumpkin. Even the Teddy squash, which are a very small variety with only 55 days needed to maturity, will likely not get a chance to produce anything. The green zucchini still isn’t producing; they did have female flowers, but no male flowers bloomed at the same time to pollinate them. We do have some golden zucchini developing, though, and some Magda squash I should be able to pick in a few days. Maybe even a yellow pattypan squash or two.

The paste tomatoes, at least, are coming along nicely, with more of them starting to blush.

I was able to harvest more green onions from the high raised bed. Most of these will be dehydrated, and there are lots more I can harvest.

The handful of pea pods are almost all from the second planting. The first planting is, amazingly, still blooming!

Most of the onions seem to be growing well. Some of the red onions have very different shapes, and they are starting to be noticeable. I’m thinking of picking one or two for fresh eating, just to see how they taste.

The one surviving type of turnips are finally starting to have visible “shoulders”. We might actually be able to pick some, soon.

I don’t know what to make of the potatoes. They’re done blooming and we should be able to harvest young potatoes now, but I want to leave them as long as I can. The plants themselves are nowhere near as large as potato plants normally get. There was so much water in that area, I’m sure it stunted the growth of the ones that survived. I still might dig one plant up, of each variety, just to see what there is to see. Will the lack of foliage translate into a lack of potatoes, too? I was really hoping to have a good amount of potatoes to store for the winter. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to last the entire winter for the 4 of us, but it will help us decide if these are varieties we will get again or not.

Every time I’m in the garden, I’m thinking of next year’s garden. One thing is for sure. It is nowhere near big enough to meet our goal of providing sufficient amounts of food to last us until there is fresh produce again. We planted so much, with the expectation of losses, but this year the losses are just too great. Which has really surprised me. I did not expect to get less productivity this year, compared to last year’s drought. Mind you, during the drought, we were watering the garden beds every day, twice a day. This year… well, adding water is easy. Keeping water out is not. Still, even if everything had gone well, we would still probably need double the garden size to meet our long term goal. Short term is to have enough to supply our needs for at least 3 months – the hardest winter months, when we might find ourselves snowed in or the vehicles frozen.

Every year we garden, we figure things out a bit more, from what weather extremes we need to work around, to how much of anything we need to grow, to what we like enough to grow year after year. More me, half the enjoyment of gardening is analysing the results and using that information to make decisions for the next year!

That’s one good thing about having hard gardening years. You do learn more from it, than from years were everything goes smoothly.

The Re-Farmer

Change in plans, morning in the garden

This morning was our date with the vet, to get Potato Beetle, Big Rig and Tissue spayed and neutered, as arranged by the Cat Lady.

I had a chance to text with her last night, as she reminded me to have them fasting. She herself was going back to the hospital today. The poor thing has been in and out of hospital all summer, and yet she still manages to help with cats. She just brought home a couple more because they were sick, and no one else was willing/able to take care of them. She is so awesome!

She did warn me that there is a shortage of vets, and there was a possibility of cancellation. So when my phone started ringing while I was driving with the three cats, I had a sinking feeling. Of course, I couldn’t answer while driving. It started ringing again, then I suddenly started getting notification noises, one after another. *sigh*

The calls were from one of the staff from the clinic – but she was calling from home! When she couldn’t get through to me, she called the Cat Lady, and both of them were trying to text me at the same time, letting me know that the vet wasn’t coming in today. All surgeries were being cancelled.

I got all these when I parked in front of the clinic.

After responding to both of them, the lady from the clinic said she would call me when she got into the office to reschedule, then I headed home.

The cats were not happy with all this. I was concerned about Potato Beetle. He’s already been stuck in the sun room for over a week. Yes, he has cool places to lie down, and we make sure there’s a frozen water bottle in his water bowl, the ceiling fan is going, and the small box fan I found the the garage is set up. Still, it gets quite warm in there and, as much as we try to go over and pay attention to him, he’s mostly all on his own.

Thankfully, the clinic was able to reschedule us for this Friday, so tomorrow night, we do the fasting again.

Since we no longer to dash to and from town to deal with the cats, I took advantage of the change in plans and decided to do our Costco trip today, instead of next week.

But first, I had to do my morning rounds, switch out the memory cards in the trail cams, and check the garden beds.

The Carminat pole beans finally have pods forming!

The one giant pumpkin is growing so fast!

I looked around and finally saw another pumpkin forming. Just to be on the safe side, I hand pollinated it. The vines of the two plants are overlapping each other, but as far as I can tell, this one, plus another female flower I found that is still just a bud, is on the same plant as the pumpkin that’s growing so big. The second plant has lots of male flowers, but I can’t see any female flowers on it.

I’ll keep checking and, as I find them, I’ll hand pollinated them, just to be on the same side.

Which I am also doing with the Red Kuri (Little Gem) squash, in the south yard. These are doing really, really well here. I have hand pollinated several female flowers already, and I can see more budding. I’m happy that these are doing so well, because these may be the only winter squash we get this year!

The cherry tree by the house is doing well, too. This is the most we’ve seen on this tree since moving here. The other trees at the edge of the spruce grove have nothing. Being close to the house seems to be providing the microclimate it needs. I don’t know the name of this variety; only that the original tree was from Poland, which has a longer growing season than we do.

The cherries at the very top look ripe, or close to it. We’ll have to bring over the step ladder and start picking them!

Speaking of picking things…

This is this morning’s harvest. Along with the bush beans, there was a single pea pod from the row that was planted first. That row is almost done, but the ones that were planted later have quite a few pods that should be ready to pick in a few more days.

I also picked our very first two cucumbers! I picked this variety as it is supposed to be good for both fresh eating and pickling. Whether or not we’ll have enough to make pickles, I’m not sure yet, but we at least have these ones to taste test now!

There was also a few raspberries to pick. Maybe 3/4’s of a cup in total.

It’s not much, but it’s enough to enjoy with a meal. Certainly better than nothing at all!

That done, I was off to the city to do the last of our monthly stocking up, but that will get it’s own post. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden

Oh, what a tiny little harvest this morning. 😁

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. 😊

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. 😊

The Re-Farmer