Medicated kitties, and the sunroom is basically done

I’m planning to do our final (hopefully) trip into the city for a Costco stock up shop for this month, so I would normally not have gone anywhere today. Especially with it being Halloween, and I would expect the stores to be filled with last minute shoppers.

I did, however, want to pick up some lysine for the outside cats, to use until the powder I ordered comes in. Since I was going to be in town anyhow, I remembered to grab the empty 5 gallon water jugs for refilling. We have four of these for our drinking water, and try to never go less than one on the go, and one full one waiting, though sometimes that doesn’t quite work out.

Once at home and my daughter took care of hauling the water jugs inside, I started getting ready to give the outside cats some lysine with their evening kibble top up.

*sigh*

I got my daughter to bring me a mortar and pestle. I was expecting to be opening up gel caps with powder in them, like the cat lady was telling me she does.

I even got the same brand she gets!

As for getting it on the amount of kibble I put out at once, which almost fills a gallon sized container, I stole one of the bins we used for taking transplants outside for hardening off in the spring. I put the measured amount of kibble in the bin, ground the tablets into powder and sprinkled that on top, then tossed it until I was sure all the kibble was coated.

I think, the next time I do this, I’ll give the kibble a very light spray of water first, so the powder will stick to it better.

Then the treated kibble got poured back into the gallon container, and I fed the kitties.

They didn’t seem to notice any difference with the kibble, and ate it without any hesitation.

The kittens are already mostly improving with all their leaky eyes, stuffy noses, coughing and sneezing, but this should help them get better faster, and hopefully prevent them from getting sick again. It’s especially dangerous if they get sick in the winter, and with so many really young kittens this year, they are the most at risk.

Speaking of kittens…

I couldn’t get a photo, but when I headed out to town I could see a ludicrously big pile of kittens on the new cat bed I’d put in front of the east facing window. It was hilarious! With the other cat bed at the corner by the south facing window, that entire side would have been packed with babies! They all started moving around and looking to come outside when they saw me, so I hurried away. The last thing I wanted was to have kittens following me to the garage, when I can’t see them while backing out.

After adding the lysine to the kibble, I stayed out and worked on the sun room. This meant leaving the doors open, much to the joy of many kittens. Not all of the kittens are interesting in exploring the sun room, though. At least not yet, but I was very happy to see this!

The bitty baby was out! He was hunting leaves and making friends with some of the cattens. Aside form the one time I saw Junk Pile nursing the bitty, along with her own kittens, we still have yet to see an adult cat mothering this little spitfire. Yet, clearly mothering is happening. He does look bigger, and he’s getting more active, exploratory and playful. All good signs.

I had quite a bit of furry company while working on the sun room. They were into everything!

One of the first things I had to do was clear the wall under the bathroom window, then clean the cube shelf and set it up. Because there’s the possibility of water getting onto the floor, I made sure to put it on some scrap pieces of rigid insulation. Once that was in place, I could start working on the other side.

I’m still debating putting rigid insulation against that big window in the corner. These are double pane windows, but the inner pane on that one has been gone since before we moved here, so it gets covered in frost in the winter. I do want to let the light in, though, so maybe we’ll get one of those clear plastic window kits, instead.

This half is mostly garden related stuff and, of course, having a place to sit.

We used to have a large cardboard moving box behind the door for tall stuff. After digging around, I found a tall aluminum garbage can I could replace it with. It had been sitting outside for who knows how many years, and the bottom of the inside needed to be scraped of… something. After cleaning it as best I could, I cut a piece of insulation to fit the bottom. That way, it’ll be quieter if we drop something hard or metallic inside. Eventually, we’ll have more garden tools stored in there for the winter. Another piece went on the floor under it, for those times when the floor gets wet.

It’s not quite finished, of course. Some things, like the tool box, will be moved out of the sun room completely, when it’s no longer needed for outside stuff. We found a set of legs to make a folding table, and I’ve got those behind the swing bench until we can find and cut a piece of plywood to size and attach them. The folding chairs get stored in the old kitchen.

This side… still looks like a disaster! *sigh*

When I found the metal garbage can to use for storing tall things, I also found a smaller plastic garbage can inside it. It was intact, so I gave it a cleaning, and now it’s sitting upside down by the walker to dry. I’m not sure where it’ll finally go, but this room does need a garbage can. There’s a bucket to catch drips if we get rain and the roof starts leaking again (still no word on when the roofers will be coming out). I had some square buckets on the counter shelf I was using for small hand tools, only to discover water in the bottom of one of them, and the tools inside were starting to rust. *sigh* So I cleaned the tools as best I could, then left the bucket to catch drips. We don’t have rain in the forecast anymore, but it did start raining a bit while I was in town, so until the roof gets done, we’ll just leave the drip catchers where they are.

I would love to find a better place to store the bin of insulation pieces. They come in so handy, though, I want to keep them accessible. There’s a few other things that need to be organized better, but that can wait. The main thing is that everything that was outside is now inside, the room is more useable, and it’s easier to get at things like the table and miter saws. Even the electric chainsaw now has a spot on a shelf. However that, and the battery powered mini chainsaw, will be going into the house for the winter, though. Things get too cold for batteries or chainsaw oil in the winter.

So there we have it! The sun room is pretty much done, and mostly winterized. At some point we’ll set the food and water bowls and a litter box up in there, for when we need to use it as a kitty recover room again, but aside from little things like that, it’s finally done.

Now I can get back to working on garden beds again! 😁

The Re-Farmer

Sun room progress

I was able to get at least a bit of progress in the sun room today. This is what where it was left off after my daughter worked on it.

The only thing different is the addition of the new kibble bin that doesn’t fit on the shelf. The room has been slowly becoming a disaster, and using it as a recovery ward for the cats certainly hasn’t helped. Where the swing bench had been was the worst of it, with so much stuff fallen behind, and the messes the cats made. The rest was going to be easy after that!

Because of the mess the cats made on this side of the sun room, it needed extra cleaning after being emptied out.

It got emptied, then vacuumed, including around the windows and walls – lots of cobwebs! The windows finally got washed on the inside. The shorter extension cord could finally be wrapped on its hooks (there are no outlets in this room), and I added some hooks so the longer extension cord that is powering the kibble house is now running through the tops of the doors rather than the bottom.

Then the kittens got kicked out and the door closed so that floor could get a thorough washing. Some areas needed to be scrubbed by hand, and I still couldn’t get all the stains out. Last of all, it got rinsed of cleaners, with the ceiling fan running to help it dry faster.

It was getting pretty dark by the time I starting to bring stuff in again, though mostly to protect some things from critter damage. The floor is still damp, too.

After five years, I think we’ve got a pretty good bead on how we need to use this space. The main thing is mobility friendly access. When we first moved here, my husband kept his walker in the main entry, folded up against the washer and drier. There were two problems with that. First, it was in the way of using the washer and drier, and second, it became increasingly difficult for him to get in and out with it. The door’s threshold is fairly high, requiring him to lift the walker wheels over it, and then there are two steps to go down. He didn’t mind it too much at first but, over time, his back just kept getting worse. Then we finally cleared and cleaned the sunroom, which was a HUGE job (I still can’t believe all the stuff my parents had in there!). My dad kept his own walker in the sun room, and now my husband’s walker is kept here, and it’s much easier for him to get in and out. I still want to get little door ramps for him, as he does still need to lift his walker a bit to get through the door, but it’s greatly improved his ability to get in and out by using the sunroom.

So access is a primary concern when it comes to how we want to set things up.

We also use the room a lot for keeping tools and supplies, and we need to find a better way to organize those. The table saw I found in one of sheds had been by the door into the old kitchen, but there it ended up blocking access to things, It’s now set up near the counter shelf by the doors to outside, with the miter saw I got at a garage sale sitting on top of it for now. The swing bench will stay where it is now – right in the corner, with no shelf behind it. The last time we moved things around, I’d set it up against the wall with the two windows, but my husband moved it against the shelf, so he could sit on it and see outside. That blocked access to the shelf and, before we knew it, all sorts of things were falling behind it and getting stuck – and of course, the cats took full advantage of that! So now the cube shelf will go against the wall under the bathroom window. I’m going to try and keep all the tool related stuff on that side.

We found using the room as a greenhouse was handy, but we need to figure out a more efficient way to do it. Being able to set up a surface to hold transplants over the swing bench worked out pretty well, even if it meant only the cats could use the bench! So this side is going to be organized in a way that we’ll be able to set transplants up again in the spring, including a better way of setting up the lights. For a “sun” room, it’s actually pretty dark in there!

One other thing we use this room for is an isolation ward for recovering cats. Which means we’ll be wanting to set up food and water bowls, and a litter box, which is currently in the cats’ house outside. It hasn’t been used yet but, once snow is on the ground, I think the kittens will figure it out! We’ll get another one for the sun room.

We will also be using this room to store things for the winter, until they’re needed again in the spring.

All of this, we will need to figure out as we bring things back inside. Now that that floor has been cleared and sanitized, we can work out how to organize things most efficiently.

While I was finishing up and things were getting dark, I was very happy to see how well the new solar powered motion sensor light was working out. When I checked on it last night, it didn’t turn on. It’s mounted to the top of the outer door, so it should have turned on when I opened it. It didn’t turn on, but I startled some critter out of the kibble house! I could hear it run across the yard, and slam into the chain link fence as it went under it. It sounded bigger than a skunk. I’m thinking racoon, but they usually freeze instead of running away, so I’m not sure. As I came out of the sun room to check, I heard more noise – from the four deer in the yard that got startled and ran out towards the barn! I grabbed a flashlight and went back out again. I could hear something was crunching kibble, but couldn’t see what it was. From the sound, I was pretty sure that one, at least, was a skunk, which turned out to be correct.

With all that going on, the new light would have been very helpful, but it just wasn’t turning on. I knew it worked, because when switching it from off to either high or low light, it turns on and stays on for about a minute before shutting itself off. I had turned it on just before starting to screw it onto the door. Thankfully, the way it is sitting, I didn’t have to unscrew it from the door, and could shift it enough to reach the switch and turn it on. I’m not completely sure why it was off, but my guess is that I switched it off by accident. While I was attaching it to the door, at one point it slipped and started to fall. I managed to catch it, but must have hit the switch in the process. Whatever it was, I got it going again, and set to the brighter light.

Which was really handy as I finished up! I had plenty of light to see what I was doing – and it even lights up as far as the inside of the kibble house. The cats running around also triggered the motion sensor, which means any skunks, racoons or deer will also trigger it. Hopefully, that will be a deterrent.

Ha! Who am I kidding! It won’t deter them, but it’ll make it easier for us to see what’s stealing the kibble!

If all goes well, we should have the sunroom organized and finished tomorrow. Then we can go back to putting the garden to bed for the winter. We’ve got some nice, warm days coming up, which means we can give the trees we planted one more deep watering before the temperatures drop again.

As long as the weather holds, there will always be a bit more we can get done!

The Re-Farmer

Wet, wet morning

While the Western parts of the prairies got walloped with snow yesterday, by the time the system reached us last night, it was rain. Some places even got thunderstorms, apparently.

When I headed out this morning, it was still raining pretty heavily, so not a lot of kitties were coming out for kibble! Quite a few of them were inside the cat house, though, so that was good to see. As I went to switch the memory card for the driveway trail cam, I had to walk on the grass to the side of the driveway because it was covered in water.

We seriously need more gravel on that driveway.

While we have not finished winterizing the sun room, we did get the broken glass cleaned up, so I’ve been allowing the kittens to go in. When I topped up their kibble last night, some of them were still in the sun room, so I rigged the doors so that they were mostly shut, but the kittens could still get in and out. Then, because racoons remain a problem, even if we don’t see them, I used my husband’s walker to brace the kibble bin in its shelf, then took the two big bags of kibble my BIL and his family so generously gave us, and tucked them into the old kitchen.

Well, I forgot to put the breaks on, on the walker! This morning, I found the walker had been pushed aside, and the kibble bin open and almost knocked onto the floor. Thankfully, the bin was only half full, so while it was on its side, hung up on some buckets (with a kitten sitting in the kibble!), the kibble wasn’t spilled onto the floor.

Before moving things around, I’d had a shallow bin, designed to fit under beds, on the top of the shelf we used to hold the kibble bins to catch water from the leaking roof. Well, that shelf isn’t there anymore. I wasn’t expecting it to rain this heavily, so there was just stuff set aside against the wall until we could finish cleaning and winterizing the sun room. I had to move those out – and my husband’s walker that had been pushed that far back – so I could set up a bucket to catch the drips.

I will be so happy when that roof finally gets done, though my brother and I are both on pins and needles, afraid our mother will suddenly decide not to pay for it after all. She tends to do that at the last minute, though, so I expect that once the roofers are actually here and the final bill is being tabulated (the total will likely be higher than the estimate, as I expect them to find rot from leaks that needs to be repaired), she’ll try to refuse to pay it. Much like she tried to do after promising to pay for the movers so we would move out here to take care of the place for her.

There was water on the sun room floor, of course, but it’s a concrete floor and not going to be a problem. Seeing how it all flowed across the room to the opposite corner, though, really shows how much the room has shifted since the concrete was poured, and how much that one corner has been undermined.

Speaking of which…

Something knocked the diverter off the downspout above the rain barrel. It had not been full before, but it sure is now, and was starting to overflow. I got the diverter back in place, so it’s not an issue anymore. Getting that barrel empty and set aside for the winter is going to have to be done soon. The girls are going to have to clean the eavestroughs (aka: rain gutters) out again, too. I did pick up rolls of mesh to cover them, but those won’t be put on until after the roof is done. I also picked up a spray sealant to be used after they’ve been cleaned. There are a couple of places where they are leaking. The roof is supposed to be replaced, but I don’t think that includes the eavestroughs.

Looking at the short range forecast, we’re supposed to get a couple of chilly days, with highs barely above freezing, then it’s supposed to warm right up again for about a week, with several sunny and dry days. That will be a great time to get more progress on things, and to finally be able to finish cleaning out and winterizing the sun room. Cleaning the other half of the sun room will require removing the swing bench, the table saw, and a couple of shelves, along with all the stuff in them, outside. Because overnight temperatures have already been going below freezing in there, all the remaining squash have already been moved to the living room. Some of them are still ripening, so they won’t be going to the root cellar, yet.

In putting the stuff back, we need to keep in mind that we’ll be using the sun room as a greenhouse again in the spring. I want to come up with a way to be able to hang those lights we used last spring, more efficiently. If we do it right, the same set up can then later be used in the fall to hang things like strings of onions and garlic to cure.

Wow. I just realized that, if we’re going to be doing things like starting onions from seed again (which we likely will be), we’ll be needing to get those going in just a couple of months. Onions should really be started indoors in January in our area.

The girls and I will go over how the garden went this year and, taking into account the failures due to flooding and other issues out of our control, what worked, what didn’t, what we want to keep doing, what we will stop doing (if only temporarily), and what we don’t want to ever do again! 😄

We have lots of work to get done before the snow flies, and then lots of planning for next year to get working on.

It’s going to be fun!

The Re-Farmer

Working on the sun room

There are a lot of jobs that need to be done before the snow flies, but some of them are more weather dependent than others.

Working on the sun room is one of them, because we basically have to empty it in the process.

So instead of working on winterizing the garden beds and yard, as I’d originally intended, I started on the sun room.

Well. Half of it.

The main thing was to clear the area in front of the pair of windows on the east side of the door, so that I could clear away as much broken glass from the inner pane as possible.

My daughter had already cleared the big pieces of broken glass from the bottom window – the top one has cracks, but hasn’t broken apart, yet. There were many jagged pieces left that she couldn’t get out. I tried using the glass cutter, but it really didn’t do much of anything. I ended up breaking most of the pieces off with a pair of pliers. Some pieces came out entirely, others broke away closer and closer to the frame, while still others just got crushed by the pliers.

After sweeping as much of the glass as I could, I used a vacuum to get the rest.

While doing the concrete floor, I spotted something that either I completely forgot about, or somehow managed to miss when we first cleaned out the sun room of my parents’ stuff.

Right in the corner, there are foot prints in the concrete. You can see one hand print as well, and there are just barely signs of a second hand print.

My late brother poured this concrete. My guess is, these are his son’s prints.

Awww…

Once the glass was cleaned up as much as possible, it was time to put insulation in place.

I covered both windows, as I’m hoping the insulation will prevent the top window from cracking even more. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s temperatures that are causing the cracks, though they certainly are a factor. The entire sun room is shifting, and sinking slightly, at the corner by the rain barrel. Likely because the barrel was allowed to overflow and, before winter, simply tipped over on the spot to be emptied.

I decided to rearrange this side of the sun room to something I hope is more functional.

The shelf I had the kibble bin stored in used to be in this corner, and the counter shelf you see now was in the opposite corner. It’s on bricks, in case the floor gets wet. The roof leaks above this corner – which will hopefully no longer be a problem soon! We still don’t have a date for the roofers to come int.

The hanger on the wall was on the wall beside the door to the old kitchen, but it was too long, so it was mounted diagonally. It partly worked, but it’s in a more useful spot, now.

Then it was time to clean out this corner, by the bathroom window. That space on the left is where the hanger had been. The counter shelf was in the corner, with all sorts of stuff, including my husband’s walker and my crossbow target, blocking the front of it. The top had become a mess of tools and containers.

Unfortunately, by this time, it was getting late. The shelf went into the corner and I started out organizing things as I brought them back in. After a while, though, I got a daughter to help, and we just shoved everything into this corner, to be finished another time.

The other half is going to take more work. Aside from having to wrestle the swing bench out the door, that side is where the cats – and sometimes skunks – would leave messes in inaccessible corners.

Thankfully, we’ve got a couple more warm, dry days before the temperatures start to drop, and we have the possibility of rain. We won’t be able to get back at it tomorrow. In the morning, we’ve got the cat lady coming to pick up the bitty babies, then in the afternoon, the girls and I are heading out to pick up my mother, then going to the marsh to see the migrating birds, while we still can this year. So after tomorrow, we can get back to work!

Speaking of which, one of the things the girls did while I started on the sun room was head out to a stand of willows behind the barn, with the loppers. They were looking for branches appropriate to use on the wattle wall I’m building in the old kitchen garden. Unfortunately, the only long, straight ones they found were branches that died long ago, and were in no condition for use. The live branches were not suitable for wattle weaving. The best they were able to do was prune some small but straight maple suckers that can be used as space fillers. I’d already gathered some last night from the maples now clear of the branch piles that got chipped, that I hope can be used. I did not expect it to be this difficult to find suitable materials for that project!

Well, that last paragraph took a lot longer to write compared to the rest of this post. The bitties needed attention, and are now back on me. The black and white is content to curl up on my chest, but the grey and white tabby wants to explore!

Time to get off the computer and

Ow! The little bugger just bit my thumb!!!

Time to ten

3d o 7bia

bie7sl7

77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777774

get a kitten off the keyboard.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: potting up, moving things – and good news!

First, I’ll start with the good news.

While I was working on the transplants, we got a call from the pharmacy delivery driver. I headed out to meet him at the washed out road, opening the gate before starting the van and heading out.

I was backing out of the garage, when a car pulled into our driveway!

He not only got through, he had no issues at all. The washed out road has been repaired! That means we can now reach the highway and go wherever we need.

I was very happy to hear this. Tomorrow, I’m going to go get the mail! LOL

Oh, the things that are exciting when you’re old and boring. 😉

My main goal for today was to pot up the newest tomatoes, and move things to the sun room.

I started with the Yellow Pear tomatoes, which are in the image on the left. Of those, there was one seedling that I pulled out, as it was not suitable for transplanting. The Chocolate Cherry (on the right) got all seedlings potted up.

By the time it was done, we had 13 Yellow Pear tomatoes, and 12 Chocolate Cherry, ready to go to the sun room.

Before that could be done, though, the rest of the pots in the mini-greenhouse had to be taken out, and the mini-greenhouse prepped to be moved. The vinyl cover finally got removed, as did the aluminum foil lining it on three sides, to reflect as much light as possible. The foil has been saved for some other future use.

One of the sawhorses supporting the platform holding plants had to be carefully shifted over to make room for the mini-greenhouse frame.

Things got shifted around in the sun room, too. The older tomatoes were getting too tall for the plant shelf, so they got moved to the platform, as did the large bin with the kulli corn. The tomatoes were so tall, I had to adjust the shop light higher, to fit.

Once the newly transplanted tomatoes and seedlings that were in the mini-greenhouse in the living room got oved over, I filled another bin with the seedlings from the large aquarium greenhouse and brought those over, too. Everything fit, with room to spare!

I did change a couple of things after this photo was taken. That terracotta pot was put by the lamp on the bottom shelf, just to get it out of the way. It got moved out, as did the lamp, and the bin at the bottom of the mini-greenhouse was moved to where the lamp had been, so it could get more light.

The seed trays on the bottom right of the above picture are starting to explode. More cucumbers are coming up, and all four of the King Tut Purple Pea seeds that we managed to save are germinating. There is even a Red Kuri/Little Gem squash making an appearance.

These are now the only things left in the big aquarium greenhouse.

There’s still no sign of any Yakteen gourds. As for the Kakai pumpkin that looks like there is a seedling popping up, that’s actually a stem. I was watching it for a few days before I finally took a closer look. It seems it started to germinate – but then the leaves broke off the stem. The stem end is what you’re seeing in that pot! There were more planted in the pot, so I’m hoping that a bit more time on the warming mat will result in germination.

The LED shop light that was used at the mini-greenhouse is now available to be moved to the sun room, but I haven’t figure out how I want it set up yet.

Funny. The living room suddenly feels much bigger, without the mini-greenhouse tied to a chair in front of the couch, anymore. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: sun room mods, and old kitchen garden prep

I am really loving the longer days. I was able to get all sorts done this evening, while it was still light out!

The first job was to make some changes in the sun room.

A few things needed to be reorganized, which I worked on while the girls got the new metal sawhorses out of their packaging and set them up. There was no place to move the table saw, so one of them sticks out further than is convenient, but we can still get around it.

I suppose we could have laid out the closet door with the hinges down, but that happened to be the way my daughter and I grabbed it and laid it out. I don’t expect it to be a problem.

That done, I wanted to get those tall tomato plants out of the shelf, where they just barely fit.

Oh, oh.

Looks like Potato Beetle tried to jump into the bin that was in his favourite spot!

I do wish I’d caught this earlier. It’s pretty wilted. Still, tomatoes being how they are, I tried to salvage it.

I just buried the stem on the soil. Hopefully, those hair roots on the stem will do their job, and it will recover. If it doesn’t, we still have quite a lot of Cup of Moldova tomatoes.

That done, I brought the onions out of the shelf to give them a “haircut”, then switched them around when putting them back on the shelf.

The new set up is the perfect height to work at!

Next, I brought out the tallest plants that were in the mini-greenhouse.

I moved the two Canteen gourds out of the bin in the shelf and in with the larger tomatoes, then added laughably large poles for them to climb on. The poles look too big now, only in relation to the size of the plants, but those plants are going to get much, much larger!

More tomatoes went into the bin the gourds were removed from, another gourd that had still been in the mini-greenhouse joined the other two in the larger bin. The small bin of kulli corn got moved over. Hopefully, this will be a better spot for them. I also brought over a couple of pepper pots. They each had a pair of peppers in them, so I thinned out the smaller ones and repotted them. We’ll see if they will survive. Two more tomato plants joined them, as there wasn’t room for them in any of the bins in the window shelf. With the changes, though, there is now more room on the shelf for a couple more bins of seedlings, once we’re ready to move them over.

That done, I took advantage of the daylight, grabbed a hoe and went into the old kitchen garden.

I was able to prep three beds, including the one alongside the retaining wall blocks. There’s another bed on the left, in between where you can see stone and brick stepping stones. I won’t be touching that, as it was fall seeded with the bread seed poppies that grew there last year. We still have some of the seed pods, and I’ll be adding more seeds to that bed later on, just to make sure we get at least something. We did get another variety of bread seed poppies, but those will be planted in a completely different area, to avoid cross pollination.

The soil in these beds is not at all frozen – what a difference location makes! We’ll look through the seeds for direct sowing and make some decisions on what to plant here. We already sort of mapped things out, but things are flexible. This is a good location for root crops, be we already grew carrots and beets here last year.

Whatever we do, we’ll have to be prepared to cover the beds, so we don’t get a repeat of last year’s critter damage!

There are still the retaining wall blocks at the end. I transplanted mint that was growing where the log framed bed is, into alternating blocks. We’ll soon find out of they survived the winter. They’re mint, though, so it’s highly likely they did. We haven’t decided what to plant in the empty blocks. Perhaps some of the herb seeds we have.

There is another bed that should be quite workable now; the bed along the chain link fence where we planted tomatoes last year. We’re actually intending to put tomatoes there again this year, as they did so well in that location. The soil was very thoroughly reworked when a border of bricks was placed around it, so using it for the same type of plant again shouldn’t be a problem. Since it’s going to have things transplanted into it, and got well mulched in the fall with leaves, it’ll be left alone until planting time.

Gosh, it felt so good to be working in the dirt again! Though it was funny when I got my hands muddy, pulling out roots and weeds as I found them, and was able to go “wash” them off in snow.

😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: potting up, and new sprouts!

After checking on the plants last night, I ended up shifting things around earlier than expected. Some of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes at the top of the mini-greenhouse were getting too big! With not being able to remove the cover, it was actually a bit difficult to get them out. The door flap doesn’t open all the way to the top of the cover, so I only had a few inches to get them through.

I was going to just take them to the sun room, but they were so tall, I decided to pot them up, using some pots we found when cleaning up the old basement.

I had to commandeer a larger bin being used for something else, to fit them! The plants were potted with about 3 inches of their stems buries. If I’d had deeper pots, I could easily have buries another 3 inches.

There were also some new seedlings I finally was able to get pictures of.

These were taken last night. The Yellow Pear tomatoes had started to come up earlier, and there were finally some Chocolate Cherry sprouts showing. Among the squash and gourds, there was that one Giant Pumpkin pushing it’s way through – then a Tennessee Dancing Gourd suddenly popped up!

This is how they looked this morning. It’s always so exciting to see how fast they grow, once they germinate! That Giant Pumpkin looks like a tiny Audrey II, about to sing “Feed me, Seymore!”. 😀 Since this picture was taken, the leaves have already opened.

The tomatoes handled their first night in the sun room quite well. The only place there was room to put them and still get light was at the bottom shelf. The shop light we’re using to give light from the inside isn’t long enough to light up all the shelves we’re using. The highest shelf we’re using only gets light during the day, so that’s where we’ve got smaller bins of toilet paper tube pots seeded with the tulip trees, paw paws, and some of the kulli corn. Until they germinate, low light is not an issue for them.

These tomatoes are the same age as the ones we’d brought to the sun room earlier; they’d been left in the mini-greenhouse because they were smaller. Now, they’re bigger than the ones that have been in the sun room for a while, but the sun room ones looks sturdier, though they also still have a bit of cold damage on their leaves from their first night in the room. The greater temperature swings make for stronger plants plants, almost like hardening them off.

One of the things I did before coming in from my rounds was got into the garage and grab the folding closet doors we found in the outhouse when we cleaned it up. We’ll need more space for plant pots in the sun room, and we’re going to use it, probably with the new saw horses I bought, to set up a “table” over the swing bench. Depending on the height, there should still be room for Potato Beetle to curl up on the swing bench when he wants to be in the sun room again. 🙂 He, I’m happy to say, leaves the plants completely alone.

Unlike Susan, who desperately wants to eat them all.

Or Beep Beep, who wants to sleep on them.

Or Tissue, who wants to dig them all up.

They do make this whole “starting seeds indoors” thing much more difficult that it should be!

These tomatoes, however, are now safe in their new pots and new location. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: sun room follow up

This morning, as I headed out to do my rounds, the sun room thermometer was at about 10C/50F. During the night, I saw it dip as low as about 5C/41F.

I moved away the reflect to get some photos of the new bins with the kulli corn. The picture of the smaller bin didn’t turn out, though.

Here is the larger bin with 80 toilet tube pots in it. That white plastic is marking off the pots that are empty. When one daughter finished the smaller bin, she started helping her sister from the other side, so the empty pots ended up in a really weird place. 😀

They planted all the seeds, including the little, bitty extras. I don’t expect those to germinate, but who knows? Even without the extras, I don’t expect 100% germination. It should be interesting to see what we get.

The three trays of bulb onions are doing better in the sun room than they were in the mini-greenhouse, but that tray of shallots is really struggling. 😦

The Cup of Moldova tomatoes have recovered from their first night in the sun room rather well. You can see leaves with cold damage on them, but the remaining leaves are looking quite strong. Even the Crespo squash and Canteen gourds seem to be doing just fine.

Likewise with the Wonderberry.

There are some seedlings in the mini-greenhouse that are starting to look like they can be moved to the sun room, as does the tray of bunching onions. We’ll have to do a bit of re-arranging, since the sun room ended up being a feline recovery room again, to make space for everything.

It will be good when we finally have a small greenhouse or polytunnel. Hopefully, we’ll have something in time for next year.

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

Setting up the sun room, and those are probably a total loss

Well, I hope this works.

The girls and I had to do a fair bit of clean up and pick up from what the cats and skunks knocked about while we had the run room doors propped open. Then one of them stayed out to tend the burn barrel. I’d gotten it going this morning, then covered it to smolder, but the cat litter sawdust just can’t dry out enough for that to work very well.

It’s just too wet out there for anything to dry, even in the burn barrel!

We got the shelf in the corner of the sun room ready to hold seedlings. Only the bottom three shelves will get used, because the eaves shade the top shelves too much. We’re going to see how using the scrap pieces of insulation on the shelves will help.

I cut another piece of rigid insulation to cover the three shelves we’ll be using, then covered one side with heavy duty aluminum foil. The foil is adhered with ordinary white glue, watered down enough that I could apply it with a cheap, dollar store paint brush. It took two overlapping lengths of foil to cover it and, just to be on the safe side, the overlap has a strip of aluminum tape over it as well. Much to my surprise, I found that at the dollar store, too! The back just has strips of duct tape holding the foil edges.

I found a way to hang up the new shop light I picked up at Costco. If we needed to, we could set up the second one on the other side of the foil covered sheet as well. These lights are designed to be hooked together, too, so one can be plugged into the other.

The problem is, we don’t have any way to safely set up the ceramic heater bulb overnight. When we used it before, we used the frame of the mini-greenhouse to hold it securely away from any potential fire hazards, but that’s being used for seedlings in the living room right now.

The aluminum foil will help reflect light from the window, but we will have to be careful during the day, to makes sure it doesn’t reflect too much heat, too. We want a solar reflector, not a solar oven. I’m hoping, however, that it will help keep the shelves warmer than the rest of the room during the night.

We’ll be testing it tonight, with the tree seeds.

Which I am sure are a total loss.

After transferring the seeds from the slide lock baggies into the toilet tube pots, they went into the mini-greenhouse. There is a little fan in there to keep air circulating but, because of the cats, we can’t open it up like it really should be.

Which is probably why this happened.

*sigh*

It’s a good thing these are a total experiment. It is possible the seeds are still viable and may actually germinate, but my goodness!

Now that they’re in the sun room, and not enclosed in the mini-greenhouse, the mold might dry up and die off. The seeds themselves are supposed to develop a tap root long before the leaves break ground, so I was still not expecting anything to be sprouted. Who knows? Some might still survive. There is that one slender bit of green growth in the tulip tree bin, after all. No idea if that’s a tree seedling, or some weed that managed to get into the seed starting mix.

We’ll monitor things for a day or two, then will probably move the onion and shallot starts into here, as they can handle cooler temperatures better than anything else we’ve got sprouting right now. Even just moving these two little bins has freed up a fair bit of space. After that, we’ll have room to move things out of the big aquarium greenhouse, and use that for the next batch of seed starts.

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer