Our 2022 garden: first spinach sown, and onions transplanted

It was a bit cooler and overcast this morning, but still pleasant enough to get the plants outside for a couple of hours.

I am really happy with the newest seedlings. This tray has the cucumbers in the left half, with the Teddy and Red Kuri winter squash on the right. It took so long for the winter squash to germinate, I wasn’t sure they’d make it, but we have 100% gemination!

The purple peas in this tray are getting nice and big. The summer squash in the other cells took a long time to germinate, too, but they seemed to get a boost after I put the warming mat under them. It’s hard to see, but even the green zucchini is finally germinating, next to the peas. I thought the Magda squash had started to germinate, but not quite yet. We had less success with those the last 2 years we planted them, too. Our first year, we had only 2 surviving plants. Last year, there was just the one. Magda squash just seems to have a harder time of it.

So far, only 2 of the yellow zucchini have germinated. Last year, we had some germinate, but when they started producing fruit, they were green, and we no yellow zucchini at all. I’m hoping that won’t happen again, this year!

The transplants seem to be quite liking their time outdoors, and even the newest little tomatoes in the foreground are looking generally robust.

We have 3 Crespo squash – and they are budding! Would you look at that!

I considered pinching them off, but these first flowers would be all male flowers. The next batch of buds should be both male and female. So I’m thinking to just leave them? I don’t know. There is very little information out there on how to grow Crespo squash. They do seem to be very enthusiastic growers!

While moving the blooming Wonderberry in and out of the sun room, we have been brushing the 3 plants against each other, in hopes to pollinate them, just in case. I don’t know how if they are self pollinating or not. Nowhere I’ve looked about them even mentions pollinating.

The transplants were left out for 2 hours today, which gave me time to work on our very first direct sowing – and transplanting – in the high raised bed.

The first thing to do was dig trenches through the wood chip mulch, so that things could be seeded/planted into the soil beneath. We have three varieties of spinach seeds from last year, and for this bed, I chose Lakeside, which is the fastest maturing variety of the three. The tray of onions I grabbed are the red onions, Tropeana Lunga, which should look like this when they mature…

This image belongs to Heritage Harvest Seed. You can see what else we ordered with these, here.

By planting the onions around the spinach, they should help with keeping away harmful insects, and maybe even keep hungry critters away. The high raised bed is buffet height for deer, though, so we will be covering them later.

There is space to do a second planting of spinach in two weeks, which will also finish off the seeds we’ve got left of this variety.

The largest Tropeana Lunga seedlings filled the two outside rows, but there were still a few tiny seedlings left. The size that would be considered not worth planting. I hate to just toss seedlings, though, so I ended up sticking them in the soil at the base of the raised bed on the north end. When this was a low raised bed, it was quite a bit longer, so the soil is softer on that end. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. We don’t have a lot of this variety, so I’m hoping to be able to overwinter a couple of bulbs to go to seed next year.

I was left with nice, soft potting soil in the tray the onions seedlings were growing in, so I used that to gently top the spinach seeds, and put just a little around each onion plant, more to keep the wood chips from falling onto them than anything else.

I have to say, I LOVE the high raised bed to plant in! It was completely pain free, with no strain on my joints. Well. I suppose that doesn’t include my arthritic fingers, but I didn’t even notice pain in my hands, either. It took me less than half an hour to plant into this bed

I didn’t bother watering these, since it was already starting to rain by the time I was finishing up. It’s been raining off an on, ever since. My daughter and I got a bit damp when we headed out later on, to figure out exactly where to plant our tree order when it comes in. With 30 silver bison berry to plant, those were the ones we need to figure out the most. They should be planted 3-4 ft apart. Since we are doing these as a privacy hedge, we will planting them 3 feet apart, with most of them along the east end of the garden area, leaving a lane just wide enough to drive through, if necessary, between them and the fence line. Taking into account where the phone line is buried, we’ll be able to plant two staggered rows of 10, though as we get closer to the spruce grove, we many need to jump the rows closer to the fence itself, to keep that driving lane open. There is a branch pile that will be in the way of any lane we leave open, but we’ll still be able to plant around it.

We’ve got 5 sea buckthorn that will be planted nearer the north fence line, to close a gap in the lilac hedge. Any remaining bison berry can also be planted along the lilac hedge, and still keep the lane over the telephone wire clear. This will leave a gap in the privacy hedge, once they’ve grown to full size, that will need fencing or a gate to close it off from deer.

The Korean pine are a whole other issue. Originally, I wanted to plant them in the space between the north side of the spruce grove, and the crab apple trees. These, however, have an 18 foot spread. At their mature size, they would completely fill that space, and we need at least some of it to be kept open to drive through. The alternative was along the north side, which would make an excellent wind break, but with that 18 foot spread and the lilac hedge, we’d be planting them on top of the phone line. Not going to happen.

Which means we’ll have to plant them in the outer yard.

Just past the fence on west side, which has a gate that leads into the garden, there is a space where we can plant 2 of them. Then there is the gate to the secondary driveway – our “emergency exit”, if you will. It was through here that one of our truck loads of garden soil was delivered.

The remaining 7 seedlings will need to be planted on the other side of that back gate, along where there is already a couple of rows of spruces, with some willows at the south end. If we plant them 18 feet apart (we might go with 16 feet), we will have a row of seedlings matching the length of the existing shelter belt trees.

The only problem with this is that the south end is currently under water.

Still, knowing that this is a low spot will help. We can make sure to basically build things up a bit, so that the seedlings will stay above water during spring melt.

Then we’ll have to make sure to put something over them to protect them from being eaten. I don’t know that deer would eat Korean pine, but they could certainly damage them, just by walking over them.

We have not yet received a shipping notice for the trees, but with so many holes to dig, the earlier we get started, the better. Hopefully, by the time they do arrive, we’ll be ready and can plant them right away.

Oh, I just double checked my order! We’re not getting 9 Korean pine. We’re getting 6.

Which means we won’t be digging holes in water, after all. 😀

It’s going to feel weird getting our little 2 yr old plugs and planting them so far apart. Especially since they will grow very slowly for the next 3 years. Which is exactly how my mother ended up planting so many trees way too close together! 😀

Oh, my goodness. I just checked the short range weather forecast, and it’s changed yet again. We’re supposed to get more rain over the next couple of days, then for the two days after that, we’re supposed to get a mix of rain and snow!

What I planted in the high raised bed should be cold hardy enough to handle that, but we might cover it anywhere, just in case, at least for the night.

Last year, May was a very warm month. On this exact day last year, we had a new record high of 30C/86F. The record low for today, -4C/24F, was set in 2002.

After a long, cold winter, it seems we’re getting a wet cold spring.

Still, there are things we can plant. I just hope things warm up decently in June, so we can get the warm weather transplants in!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: first harvest!

Today, we harvested all three spinach beds!

Looking at them this morning, I thought we could just harvest the plants that had started to go to seed and leave the smaller ones, but when we were ready to start, we realized that the smaller ones were going to seed, too!

We ended up using our three biggest baskets to hold it all.

Yes, these are our Easter baskets, and one of them still has its decorations. The flower garland is woven through the basket, so it doesn’t come off. 😀

Each of those baskets is filled with a different variety of spinach, though to be honest, I can’t tell any difference. They were even supposed to mature at different rates, but between the deer, the heat and the lack of rain, they all matured at the same time.

Nutmeg was hanging around while we were working, and my daughter noticed he was playing “cat and mouse” with something. It turned out to be a frog!

She rescued it.

We see frogs fairly regularly in the garden beds. That makes me happy. More frogs means less bugs eating our produce! 🙂

We used shears to cut the spinach, so all the roots, along with the plants that weren’t suitable to harvest (like the teeny ones the deer got to), are still there. The beds will get a thorough clean up, probably tomorrow, so we can plant lettuces, next.

We dragged out the screen “door” that fits at the top of the old basement stairs, and covered it with the mosquito netting we’d been using to protect one of the beds. We also brought out a couple of our largest bowls. The spinach got washed in the bowls in batches, which also gave us a chance to start taking out any weeds that came along for a ride, and removing some of the yellowing or damaged leaves. After being washed, they got dumped on the mesh and got another rinse with the hose.

Then it was time to start picking over the spinach and destemming them. I set up the wagon to hold the screens I’d washed earlier, to dry spinach on.

My daughter and I then started going over the whole pile, picking out the best ones for dehydrating or into bowls, and dropping the rejects with the snipped stems for composting. We worked for about an hour, hour and a half, before my daughter went in with a filled bowl, to start supper while I kept working on the rest of the spinach.

The filled screens were left on the roof of the kibble house to drain for a while. They went into the sun room when it started to rain a bit, though we never got more than a smattering.

After about three hours, here are two of the three bowls that were filled. They are all really big bowls. Big enough to mix a 6 loaf batch of bread dough.

I’m hoping to be able to set up more batches to dehydrate out of this, but it depends on how well it works in the sun room. I’ve got the light I used to keep transplant trays warm on for the night, plus the ceiling fan. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get really hot, which means the sun room will be even hotter. I’m hoping that means they will dehydrate fairly quickly, and I can set up at least one more batch.

As for the rest, we might blanch some for freezing if we can’t use it up fast enough, but mostly, we plan to just eat it. 😀 The girls have been looking of recipes for things like spinach soup to try, or maybe make another batch of their modified palak paneer sauce. We don’t have paneer, though.

I’m rather happy with our first garden harvest – and with being able to have one so early in the season!

While it may have taken a long time to clean it all, we were most entertained.

By skunks.

We had a whole parade of them, coming and going, including the mama and her babies.

All SIX of them!

I don’t know where she’s getting them all from! She started coming by with two. Then we saw her carrying a third. Today, she showed up with five – or so we thought. I took some video and, after I uploaded it and watched it, I realized there was six.

If you wish to see the video, click here. 🙂

Gosh, they are so adorable! They came back several times, including just to run around an play.

As for the other skunks that showed up, I did end up stopping to take a hose to them. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see them in the kibble house, but I could hear them, and they were not getting along. It turned out that only one of the containers had kibble left in it, and they were all trying to get at it. Then there was the one greedy guts that just wouldn’t stop eating.

Oh, and a question I had was answered. In the mornings, when I would go to refresh the cats’ water bowls, I would find one of them with kibble half dissolved in the water. It was always the bowl closest to the kibble house, but they’re far enough away that it couldn’t fall in by accident, as I had assumed was how it got into the heated water bowl, when we were still using that. The skunks, of course, use the water bowls, too. This evening, I saw one of the skunks come up to a water bowl, drink some water, then basically pick its teeth with its claws before drinking some more.

The reason it isn’t good for skunks to eat kibble is because of how their jaws are hinged. But they’ve got that figured out. The skunk was getting kibble stuck in its teeth, and was using water to get it out. The kibble would then fall into the bowl it was drinking from, for me to find in the morning.

They’re smart little buggers!

They also made what could have been a long and dreary job quite fun. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: today’s progress

It was a hot and windy day today, and my younger daughter and I ended up making a quick run into town, but we did get some decent progress in the garden.

summer squash, mulched and prepped

My older daughter braved the hottest part of the day and added more soil to the 15 summer squash mounds.

I waited until it was cooler.

I added a stake near each plant. The stakes are some of the smaller poplars we cleared our of the spruce grove, trimmed to about 3-4 feet in length. In the foreground of the photo, there is a metal bar stuck in the ground. It has a point at one end. I can’t remember at the moment, where we found it, but it was a happy find! I used it, and a mallet, to make holes in the ground. Then the stakes, skinny end down, were pushed in as far as I could, beyond what I managed with the steel bar, then the soil carefully stomped down to secure it. As close to the plants as they were, that meant mostly just on one side. Once those were in, the area was mulched with straw. The idea is to secure the stems of the squash to the stakes, as they grow, and pruning the bottom leaves, little by little. We shall see how that works!

Also, I really need to get this area mowed, before the next rains come!

I had found some trellis netting, so my daughter finished the last sections of pea trellis with that, along with adding soil to the summer squash. The peas are getting tall enough to start climbing! The peas I planted later, to fill the gaps left by those that did not germinate, are sprouting, too. I’m really looking forward to having fresh peas! I can’t remember the last time I had fresh-from-the-garden peas.

If you look to the left of the photo, you can see what is a problem in this area: all those tree seedlings! They are spreading through root systems, like quack grass. Usually, I would have mowed over them by now, but we’re going to have to cut them back by hand this year.

spinach beds

My younger daughter, meanwhile, went all out and thinned all three spinach beds.

Yes, this was taken after the beds were thinned!

The furthest one, under the netting, is the one that got the most deer damage, but parts of it are doing well. You can see at the end of the closer beds, the smaller spinach at the ends the deer got at.

With the spinach she gathered, I currently have two trays drying in the oven, and made myself a huge spinach salad for supper. The reason we went into town was to get ingredients to make spinach dips. Both cold and baked versions. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to that!

This last one is just to show how well the potatoes have been doing! At this rate, some of them are going to need topping up, soon! I’m very excited to see how productive these will be at the end of their season.

With today’s progress, my goal for tomorrow is to get working on that squash tunnel. The luffa needs something to climb! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Making things

Today has been another day of rain and high winds.

After today, we’re going to be back to high temperatures and sun. My Weather Network is forecasting 37C/99F on Wednesday! I think that must be some kind of typo, because I’m not seeing that anywhere else. The highest I’m finding is on my phone’s app, which is forecasting 27C/81F on the same day. Even so, it’s going to get hot again, and I am really, really glad we’re getting this rain right now!

In between rainfalls, we managed a trip into town, and I even got a bit of weeding done in the garden. We’re going to need to do a LOT of weeding once this rain passes. The weeds are loving the rain as much as the things we actually planted.

Speaking of which, while weeding among the corn earlier, I did find some radish sprouts. They are recent sprouts, not the ones that came up before the corn did, then disappeared. So we will have at least a couple of radishes. Unless these sprouts disappear, too!

Gosh, I’m just watching the trees outside my window as I write this. If a section of that big maple came down right now, it wouldn’t surprise me at all!

With this weather, our internet is seriously cutting out. It’s taken me more than an hour just to be able to start this post, and I still can’t get images to load. So this will be a quick one!

I wanted to share some of the new things we’re trying this year. The chives are blooming, and we decided to try making chive blossom vinegar.

I got a small bottle of white wine vinegar, and we’re simply putting clean, dry chive blossoms into it (after removing a bit of vinegar to make space. Some of the blossoms are left whole, while others had the bit at the bottom taken off, so all the individual flowerettes are loose. We’ve been adding to the bottle as more blossoms open up, then we’ll let it sit for a couple of weeks, in a cool, dark place, giving it a few turns every now and then. After that, the vinegar will be strained and re-bottled. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

I’ve also started to dehydrate spinach leaves.

I use our oven to dehydrate things, using the “warm” setting, reduced to it’s lowest temperature of 145F (default is 170F). For something as light and thin as spinach leaves, I shut it off and let the oven light on to stay warm. We can only fit two trays in the oven at a time, but after I went to turn the leaves and found they’d shrunk enough, I combined them into one pan and left it for the night. In the morning, I just crushed them lightly, and put them in an air tight canister. There’s maybe 1/3rd of a cup of dried, crushed leaves from the 2 trays. We’ll keep doing small batches like this and, eventually, we’ll reduce them to a powder instead of flakes. It kind of reminds me of dehydrating celery. You start off with what looks like so much, but by the time it’s completely dehydrated, it looks like there’s nothing there! 😀

Now it’s time to see if I have enough connection to publish this!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: progress, and some mysteries

Gosh, it was so lovely to do my rounds this morning! It has finally cooled down (for all the rain we had yesterday, it was still hot and very muggy!), and as I write this, it’s a lovely 17C/63F outside. There is the possibility of more rain, then things are expected to get hot and sunny again. I don’t know of we’ve had enough rain for the burn bans to relax a bit; it would be nice to be able to light our burn barrel, or use the fire pit.

We do still have a few plant babies in the sun room that will eventually get transplanted. This morning, I found a new gourd seedling.

A third Ozark Nest Egg gourd has appeared! We only planted 2 per pot, so we have plenty of seeds to try again next year – starting much earlier, and with a warmer set up!

With the Thai Bottle gourd, if this one seedling survives, we might at least be able to try them, as they are edible at 4-6 inches. There is no wait for them to reach full maturity. The other gourds, however, were planted for crafting purposes, and with them sprouting so late, they just won’t have the growing season for it.

Another reason I’d like to set up polytunnels and/or greenhouses. Extending our growing season would open up a lot of options for us.

I’m happy to see the grapes are leafing out nicely! They had a slow start (which I am beginning to think is normal for them), but once they do, they grow really fast! There are new vines this morning that were not there, yesterday.

The Peruvian Purple Fingerling potatoes are filling their grow bags faster than any of the other varieties. Gosh, they look so pretty! I love that hit of purple at the stems.

One of the nice things about the clean up I was able to do in the spruce grove this spring, is that I can now cut through it to get to the main garden, while doing my rounds. This morning, I found this lovely explosion.

The wild roses are blooming! The rains have been a huge boost for them. 🙂

As we continue to clean up the spruce grove, everything in here will be cut back and cleaned up. Unlike the spirea, which we are trying to pull out by the roots as much as possible, the roses will just be trimmed to ground level. Once it’s all cleaned out, they should grow back better than ever. This area, however, will probably not get worked on this year. We’re focusing more on the south and west sides for now.

Checking the various garden beds, everything it looking really good and strong. We do have a couple of mysteries, though. One is in the yellow bush beans.

A while back, I noticed a few of the seedlings appeared to have had their heads chopped off. Remarkably, the stumps still seem to be growing!

I’m not sure what did this. Normally, I would have thought it was a deer, but if it was, I would have expected a whole swath of seedlings with their tops gone, like at the ends of the spinach beds. Not 2 here, 1 there, and 2 more in the other row.

Well, whatever it is, it seems to have stopped coming over, as there is no new damage, and nothing is showing up on the trail cam.

There is another mystery, though.

All the radish sprouts have disappeared.

There had been so many sprouts, before the corn started coming up, and now, nothing. Not a trace. Not a stem or leaf to show it was bit by a critter, or cut by an insect. There were only 2 rows with the daikon type radish, but the watermelon radish was interplanted in every row of the other two corn blocks. The corn is coming up nicely, but the radishes have simply disappeared.

It is so very strange!

I should also take back the “no new damage” statement, though this damage is no mystery. Nutmeg has taken to following me along when I do my rounds, wanting attention. While looking at the sunflower transplants, supported by their twine, he decided to rub against the twine, then drop to the ground and start rolling.

Right on a sunflower, breaking the stem.

*sigh*

It wasn’t completely broken off, and it’s been put back between the twine for support, but I doubt it will survive.

Destructive little boy!

As I continued checking the beds, I would stop to do a bit of weeding, and he’d be right in there, pushing at my hands for attention, walking, sitting and rolling on top of the plants! I kept having to move him off the beds, only for him to jump right back, as long as I kept trying to weed.

When the girls and I were just starting to head home from the city yesterday, my husband messaged us to let us know that a low flying airplane had just gone over the house. This morning, it happened again, though it wasn’t an airplane.

Instead, we had a low flying helicopter! Seeing helicopters flying around is not that odd (there is a small airport not that far away), but seeing one flying this low certainly is. I don’t usually see ones coloured like this, either. Usually, they’re black.

When I was done my rounds, I uncovered one of the spinach beds to do some weeding and thinning.

Yes, these are just the thinnings, and just from one side of one bed! They’re packed down a bit in that colander, too. The spinach is doing just fantastic, now that they’re not being eaten by deer. 😉 I was able to uncover the bed on my own, but with are makeshift covers we have right now, it takes 2 people to put the covers back again.

I supposed we’ll eventually get to the point when we’ll have more spinach that needs harvesting than we can eat right away, so I’ve been thinking of what to do with any excess. I know they can be frozen, but why ruin good spinach? 😉 I’ve decided to try dehydrating them, then making spinach powder. This would keep for a long time in a jar on the shelf, and be a handy ingredient to toss into soups, or pasta dough or something like that.

I’ll have to get some photos later, but our chives have started to bloom, and I’ve started using them to make chive blossom vinegar. I picked up a bottle of white wine vinegar, and we’re just adding the cleaned blossoms straight into the bottle, after removing a small amount of vinegar to make space. It will get strained after 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, though we might keep adding more blossoms over the next few days, as the chives finish their blooming. We’ll count it as 2 weeks from when the last of them are in the bottle. 🙂

*sigh* This post has been taking MUCH longer to finish that it should have. Our internet is crappy at the best of times, but whenever we get rains or winds (not even over us, but anywhere to the south of us), we start having troubles connecting. Getting images to load is the worst. It’s taken me half an hour to get the above image to load, and as I’m writing this, it STILL won’t load! Once I get the bloody thing to work, and hopefully get this post published, it’s time to get off the computer before I go completely bonkers!!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: firsts!

We had a solid rainfall last night. With the sunflowers, tomatoes and bunching onions just transplanted yesterday, I was concerned over how they held up. I was happy to see that the tomatoes were looking very sturdy, and even the little bitty onions were looking stronger. It was the sunflowers that I was most concerned about, but they were also looking strong. Even the couple that were looking wimpy as they were being transplanted are standing strong, though the twine supports we added certainly helped that.

While moving seedlings out of the sun room this morning, I included the tray with the cucamelons. Not many of them germinated, but they are so prolific, we should still have lots. This same tray is where I’d planted the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers.

I had a surprise waiting for me.

The very first Hopi Black Dye seedling has emerged!! At this point, I thought for sure they were gonners. If I’d had any idea that they could take this long to germinate, I would have started them back in February!

I have no idea if more were germinate, or even if any will reach a point where it’s worth transplanting them. It’s so late in the season, but then, we do that the others that were direct sown, and who knows when those will germinate!

Meanwhile, we have another first this morning.

Our first harvest of spinach! Yes, we’ve been sneaking the odd leaf every now and then for a while, but they’ve reached a point where they need to be thinned out, so this morning I grabbed some from each bed. I could have had a lot more, but I could only reach so far under the two beds with chicken wire over top. Later on, when I have a second person to help out, we’ll move the covers off and thin them out properly.

After I finished cleaning the spinach, it was all I could do, not to just sit there and eat them all! Instead, I’m not eating some in an egg dish my daughters made for me for lunch. 🙂

Things got hot really fast this morning, and it’s only going to get hotter. We’re supposed to hit 29C/84F this afternoon, 34C/93F tomorrow, which risk of thunderstorms, and 35C/95F with chance of thundershowers the day after. If we do get storms, we have enough things to use as cloche to protect the tomatoes, but I don’t know how we’d be able to protect entire rows of the sunflowers.

This type of weather is the sort of thing the squash would actually like – if they were already well established outside! We’ll continue making beds and transplanting, but will have to take steps to be able to protect them from storms as well.

For now, I’m just excited about our new sprout, and fresh spinach!!!

The Re-Farmer

This, that and the other thing

Today was one of those days that went all over the place! So this is probably going to be a very disjointed post! 😀

One of the first things I wanted to get done this morning was to call the RCMP, as advised by my lawyer, about the gunshots from our vandal’s property. For non-emergency calls like this, it first goes to a receptionist who then, if it seems warranted, starts a file (or adds notes to an existing file), then passes it on to a constable, who calls back later.

The challenge was to bring up my concerns about hearing the shots, while also making it clear that there was no crime that took place. The interesting thing is that, as I described a bit of about why it was a concern in this particular case, the receptionist asked, “is this about…” and gave the name of our vandal.

I had not mentioned his name, nor did I mention my own. Yet, she knew who I was talking about!

She might have looked up my phone number in their system while we were talking, but she later had to ask me what my name was, so… that’s probably not it. She did remember talking to me about our situation previously, which would have been at least 8 months ago.

After we talked for a while, she put me on hold to talk to someone else, then came back to me with a new file number, telling me that an officer would call me back later. Since we were going to the city later, I gave my cell phone, just in case.

I shouldn’t do that. Whenever there is a cell phone number available, that’s the first number that gets called!

Once I was done on the phone, I went to quickly do my morning rounds, only to have my pocket start ringing. The officer was calling me back already! I do have my phone set to use WiFi, and at first he could hear me just fine, but then my signal started breaking up. We managed to arrange for him to call the land line, and I got back into the house just as the phone started ringing! Thankfully, I made sure my husband had the phone before I headed outside, so he got it before it went to machine.

In the end, the call was pretty much what I expected. There is no cause for them to go over. They did check and our vandal’s firearms license is up to date, and there are no restrictions in our area in regards to firing a weapon on your own property. He did tell me that, if something like this happens again, to go ahead and call 911, even if I didn’t feel it was an emergency. They would pass me on to dispatch and it would go from there. He also assured me that, even though there clearly was no crime (and I made sure to say, normally I would have no issues hearing gunshots out here), it was a good idea to call, given our particular situation. If nothing else, there is now a file on record.

Now that I think about it, though, while I’ve certainly heard gunshots a few times since moving out here, I have never heard gunshots from our vandal’s property before, or even that direction.

So that’s taken care of, as much as possible right now.

After quickly finishing my morning rounds, my daughter and I then headed out to the city, with a quick stop at the post office, first. Much to my surprise, I found a letter from the Court of Queen’s Bench. I opened it before we continued on, and it turned out to be about the court date for the civil suit our vandal filed against me, in retaliation for applying for a restraining order against him. We had an in-person court date in July but, according to the letter, due to Schrodinger’s Virus, all in-person small claims matters scheduled between May 6 and September 6 were being rescheduled and being done through teleconference calls.

Court of Queen’s Bench is federal, not provincial. The dates seem rather telling.

Anyhow, our teleconference date is set for September 10 now. Since my restraining order is a provincial matter, it is not affected by this. However, from what I’m hearing right now, our provincial government has no intention of relaxing their choke hold on us. I fully expect our court date in July to get cancelled. I really hope I’m wrong.

My daughter and I then continued on to the city, with a brief stop at a gas station along the way to grab some food. Now that we have changed where we get our gas, we’ve started going to a place that not only has hot food available, but even a few tables to sit and eat at, if desired. They’ve got some of the best fried chicken and potato wedges around! 😀 When we got there, I just parked and dashed in to get food. I walked in fine, but as I walked out, something went wrong and a metatarsal in one of my feet decided it didn’t like where it was and tried to escape.

That hurt. :-/

My daughter thought it was a great idea when I suggested that maybe we should keep my father’s walker in the van. Just in case. We do keep a collection of canes in the van, though, so at least I had that to fall back on.

Once in the city, we headed straight to the Costco, drove through the parking lot, saw the line up was even worse than yesterday, and kept on going. We went to the Superstore, instead. They had a line, too, but it was shorter and moving. My daughter reminded me to grab a cane, then when we were in line, she was able to get a shopping cart for me to lean on as we snaked our way through.

The down side of the change is that they don’t have flat carts. We did get most of what was on our list, but only half the amount of cat kibble we should have gotten, and a few other heavier or bulkier things got dropped. We’ll have to make another trip, later in the month. For the kibble, at least, we can go to the smaller city for some things, while other items can be gotten locally.

The price of beef has gotten insane. 😦

Even though we only went to the one place, we were both exhausted by the time we were done. My daughter dislikes shopping as much as I do! We find these trips more tiring than a day of hauling wheelbarrows full of soil. Plus, with the drive, I was having breathing issues again, and my daughter did the driving on the way home. I’m so glad she comes along, “one person per household” be damned. 😦

Still, it feels good to be stocked up again, even if some things will need to be topped up later.

Once we were at home, I had time to check the trail came files. Nothing triggered the tulip cam at all. I had plans to finally plant the beans today, and maybe start on the squash tunnel, but it was insanely windy. For all the rains we finally got, everything is all dried up again. In checking the garden beds, when I pushed my fingers into the soil, it’s dry all the way through. So this evening, wind or no, I went out to water.

I’m really happy with how great the garlic is doing!! Next year, we need to plant more. 😀

I set up the new hose we bought yesterday, and was able to reach everything that needed watering at the far end of the garden. Which was handy, because I hadn’t had a chance to refill the rain barrel we have out there, for the watering can. We want to get more of those. We’d rather use watering cans and warmer water, as the well water gets to incredibly cold.

Which reminds me. I looked up about the mulberry tree. There isn’t a lot of information out there, but I did find one site that proved useful. It turns out that mulberry trees tend to just drop their leaves when hit with frost, and grow back new ones. If our little mulberry had more time after being transplanted, it would have been better, but it may still actually survive. We shall see!

Meanwhile…

I found these tracks on one of the spinach beds. They were not there, this morning! The seedlings at the very end were nibbled on, too. There are no defined tracks in the soil, but I am inclined to think it was a deer. Partly due to the spacing of the tracks, and partly because we almost hit a deer this morning, while on the way to the post office! In this morning’s trail cam files at the gate, there was a deer making its way through the fence and hanging out in the driveway, too. We seem to have a lot of deer activity this year.

Tomorrow, we have to figure out how to set up the new chicken wire to protect our garden beds! Time to go scavenging in the barn and sheds for materials again.

I think that project just took priority over building squash arches!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning progress, and changes in plans

My morning rounds now includes watering all the garden beds. Though we have had rain in the forecast, so far we’ve only received the lightest of smatterings. Hopefully, over the next few days, we’ll get some real rain.

I had a lovely surprise when I came into the sun room this morning.

SO many more of the Mongolian Giant sunflowers and Montana Morado corn are germinating! The corn is just little points of green, barely visible in most of the cups.

In the pellet tray, I think I even saw a cucamelon sprout starting to break through.

It’s getting close to time to start hardening off our bigger seedlings for transplanting. 🙂

I can now say, with absolute certainty, that all three spinach beds have sprouts. 🙂 I might even have, just possibly, maybe, seen our first pea sprout this morning, too! 😀

When done checking the trail cam files, I headed back outside until it got too hot for manual labour in the sun. My computer’s weather app says we’re at 16C/61F that feels like 15C/59F, while my phone’s app says we’re at only 9C/48F with a RealFeel of 12C/54F! There is no way we are only 16C out there, never mind 9C. I have no doubt it’s at least 20C/68F out there right now. I’m thinking of picking up another outdoor thermometer to set up at the pea trellises.

One of the areas we needed to work on is the block for the Dorinney corn. I was loath to just start adding soil on the chopped straw. It would end up in the paths in between and we’d end up walking on it, and I just don’t want to waste that precious dirt! 😀

Then I remembered all that mulch I put around the sunflowers last year. A thick layer of grass clippings I kept adding to throughout the summer. I figured that would work well to put on the paths as a mulch to walk on, while it would also serve to hold the soil in the rows.

Once I started gathering up the grass clippings and laying them down, I realized this partially broken down mulch would work much better under the soil, than the straw.

So this bed will now be reversed. The grass clippings will have the soil added on top, while the chopped straw will serve to hold the soil in place, and keep the grass/weeds down in between, as well as helping keep any moisture. We lost a row in the process, but I wasn’t sure we have enough of these seeds to fill the entire block, anyhow. If we have more, we can just add another row to one side. Before we add soil, though, the area will get another thorough soaking. We can just reach this area with the hose. I should see if I can set up the sprinkler. I don’t think we’ve got enough hose to set that up where it can water the whole block, though.

In the background, you can see the row of sunflower stumps, where I took the mulch from. I didn’t even get as far as where the rows of sunflowers overlapped in the middle, and after finishing laying down mulch in the corn block, I still had enough mulch in the little wheelbarrow to add it elsewhere.

The girls saw carrot sprouts and took off the plastic covering this bed, so I added a light layer to the surface to protect it. Especially if we do end up getting that predicted rain.

I also put a light layer over the Strawberry Spinach bed.

In preparation for planting the asparagus crowns, I soaked the trench, put the cardboard back to discourage any of those roots we didn’t clip or dig out from growing, then soaked it again. Later today, we’ll put the crowns to soak while we start adding soil and preparing it for planting.

We’ve reached that point in the season, where we are switching from going out in the afternoon, when it was finally warm enough to work in the garden, to splitting our days between the cooler mornings and evenings, while avoiding the hottest parts of the afternoon. The problem with that is, the hottest part of the day tends to be around 5pm, so we’re easily losing at least 6 hours of daylight productivity. Long range forecast says we’ll be hitting 30C/86F in four days – and we’re still in May! At least it’s expected to cool down gradually after that, but we’re still going to be in the high to mid 20’s for another week. We’re also supposed to get rain. I’d say “more rain”, but what’s been predicted so far has been missing us, as usual. :-/ We shall see how it goes.

The hard part is going to be waiting until after the last frost date before planting/transplanting. I think direct sowing a bit earlier would be safe, but after losing so many transplants last year, I don’t want to take that chance again, this year!

The Re-Farmer