One last post for the day – just for fun!

How can you tell it was nice out today? I got so much done outside to post about! 😀

I just wanted to share some of my finds today. Like this adorable little guy.

The tree frogs seem to really like the sacks we’re using to grow potatoes! I keep finding them, all tucked in and napping. 🙂

Though we have almost no grapes at all this year, the few we do have are managing to survive and ripen.

I am just loving how the colour is changing on this squash! Our one and only winter squash. Though there are many little ones growing, even if they don’t all die off as they have been, I don’t think there’s enough growing season left for them to fully ripen.

The melons, on the other hand…

The Halona melons turn orange as they ripen! I’m sure that was obvious on the seed packet photo, but I didn’t even think to look.

There was something I missed completely when I took this photo, though.

I saw another one that was starting to turn colour, too, and lifted it to check the weight, only to see the stem come off. So I went back to the first one and realized it was completely detached from its stem already!

Aren’t they adorable?? ❤

After picking one of each melon type to taste test, and they both turned out to be under ripe, I look forward to seeing how different these ones taste.

The Re-Farmer

This morning’s finds

There always seems to be something new to find when I do my rounds!

Some are good, some are not so good, and some are… kind of in between. 😀

Finding holes in the ground from skunks digging for grubs is not unusual. This morning, however, it was VERY unusual! I found probably a hundred off them over by the sweet corn and sunflower blocks! They were in the open areas around them, but also right in among them.

The skunks (I’m assuming there was more than one) seem to have worked their way through two corn blocks and about one and a half sunflower blocks. Only the corn block furthest north was completely untouched. Judging from how many holes there were, I’m guessing it had something to do with very full little bellies!

Before we planted here, and were just mowing, I never saw divots. My guess is that the area was so dry and sun baked, there simply weren’t any grubs in the soil. Now that we’ve started to amend the soil and have been watering regularly, plus all the rain we’ve recently had, it’s now a skunk buffet!

I don’t mind the skunks digging up the grubs. They have no interest in the plants. The only problem was that some of their digging was close enough to our already struggling corn and sunflower plants, that roots were exposed. I worked my way through the rows, pushing the soil back into those holes, at least. The others, I left. There were just too many, and I don’t care if the weeds have their roots exposed!

It took a long time, but we now have our very first vine making its way across the top of the squash tunnel! This luffa had reached the top some time ago, but not gone over.

The winter squash still has a ways to go, but it’s working on it!

Had conditions been more ideal, this structure would at least have had the walls completely covered in vines by now, if not the “roof” as well. Given what a tough year for the garden it has been, I’m quite pleased with what we have!

The girls moved the canopy tent over the picnic table by the fire pit for me this morning, so I dragged a hose over to give the table a bit of a power wash. While there, I checked out the nearby currant bush.

We only rarely watered this bed by the fire pit at all this year, yet the currant actually has a few berries on it! After picking these, I checked on the two currant bushes near the main garden beds and found a few more. Those ones did get watered more often, but are located under trees. They get a lot less sunlight, and even with the rains we’ve been having, they would have gotten less. The one by the fire pit is on the south side of the maple grove and has no overhanging branches, so even with almost no watering, it has more berries. Even so, the berries are a lot smaller and less juicy than they should be. I’m surprised there are any at all, to be honest!

This morning, I fussed around with the potato grow bags. Some of them were falling over, so I secured them to the chain link fence, then straightened the bags out again; the tops of the bags are more to keep critters out than anything else.

In the process, I uncovered this little guy.

So incredibly adorable!!!

Finding one is exciting enough, but then I found this slightly bigger one!

This one wasn’t too impressed with my moving the bags around. 😀

These are probably my favourite type of frog. 😀 And we’ve seen so many of them, as well as the more common wood frogs, this year!

As we develop our permanent garden beds, providing shelter and moisture for frogs is on our list of things to include. 🙂

Today is supposed to be our last comfortable day before the heat comes back, and no rain is predicted for a few more days, so I will be heading out to apply cayenne pepper to some of our garden beds after this. Especially our purple beans. Checking the garden cam this morning, I caught a young buck in the garden, nibbling on something. The summer squash was blocking the view, but there is only one thing where that buck was standing; our purple beans. I didn’t even notice the damage, this morning! The purple beans are a lot bushier and leafy than the other types, but it likely explains why I’m not seeing as many beans on there. I think the deer are actually avoiding the leaves to eat the beans, instead, judging from what I do see, when I am looking closely to find beans to pick.

We keep our containers from things like sour cream, and had one with a transparent lid. I poked a whole bunch of little holes in the lid, then emptied the bulk packages of cayenne pepper into the 500ml container, to create a shaker. I’m hoping the holes aren’t too small. We shall see how it works!

The Re-Farmer

Little friends, and garlic mystery solved?

Well, we’ve passed our forecasted high of the day and have reached 30C/86F, with the humidex putting us at 35C/95F, this afternoon. We did, however, get RAIN this morning! I was awakened by the sound of thunder, so I quickly went outside to make sure the cats and birds had food before the rain hit. The storm blew past us, but it did start to rain while I was still outside. I’ll take the nice, gentle rain, thank you very much!

Unfortunately, it looks like this will be the last rain we’ll have in a while, and tomorrow the smoke is supposed to be back. What rain we did have never reached the fires up north. 😦

While doing my evening rounds yesterday, and checking the old kitchen garden (the floating row covers are doing their job; no signs of critters trying to get under them, and our carrots are recovering!), I stumbled on a pretty green friend!

It was just hanging out on the leaf of one of the flowers that made its way through the layers of mulch we put on this garden, two summers ago. We’ve seen a lot of frogs this year (likely because all the ponds and ditches have dried up), but we don’t often see the green tree frogs.

It didn’t seem to like us giants hanging around, so we let it be, though I must admit, it is very tempting to want to hold it.

I also was able to get a picture of some furry friends.

Rosencrantz and Nosencrantz were calm enough to just watch me as I went by. Toesencrantz, unfortunately, is more skittish and was hiding.

I so want to boop Nosencrantz’s nose. 😀

While the girls and I were checking the garlic beds, I showed them this odd garlic.

It looks like garlic is forming inside the stem, and this one is getting pretty big. I’d noticed another had started to show signs of this happening a few days ago. This is only in the Racombole garlic, which is split between the two garlic beds, so the girls started looking around in the other bed, and we found several more.

This one was the strangest looking one, and it may explain what’s happening.

This looks like a garlic scape! This might explain why the Racombole seemed to have fewer scapes than the other two varieties. Instead of growing out the tops, as they should have, the scapes look like they got stuck in the bottoms of the stems in quite a few of the plants. Since they didn’t get harvested, bulbils are now forming inside the stems, eventually bursting through. Only this one had the rest of the scape emerge from the stem for us to see.

It also looks like something tried to give this one a taste!

In theory, we can keep the bulbils and plant them in the fall. Hardneck garlic are bi-annual, growing seeds in their second year. Planting the cloves, rather than the bulbils, and harvesting the scapes by passes that, allowing for large bulbs with lots of cloves to form. If we planted bulbils, we sould get small bulbs that are basically one big clove. Kind of like the garlic we had to harvest early, because the plants died back so soon.

It should be interesting to see the bulbs that form under the plants that have these trapped bulbils growing in their stems. I would expect they would be smaller bulbs, though with conditions this year, I expect all of them to be smaller. I don’t expect to have any suitable for planting next year. This year, for our fall planting, we are looking to double the amount of garlic we plant. I should order them soon; they will be shipped when ready for planting in our zone, so ordering early will not be an issue. We will just have to decide where we want to plant them this fall, as we rotate things.

I am finding that half the fun of gardening is planning out next year’s garden! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Close, closer and gone

Last night, Little Braveheart was willing to come close to me.

But not as close as this little guy I found on the rain barrel, when I lifted off the screen cover.

He even came closer and posed for a picture, with the phone just inches away!

Then he went down the outside of the barrel, much to my relief. The screen cover did its job in keeping critters out, as well as debris, but it only works while it’s on! 😀

I remembered to check on the caterpillar last night, too.

Alas.

It is gone!

So are the berries that were left on the tree, next to it. Stripped clean!

I am thinking a deer had a snack of berries, and knocked the caterpillar off in the process.

Dang.

I was really hoping to be able to see its transformation!

The Re-Farmer

Following up on things

I got to follow up on a couple of things this evening.

We hit 32C/89F today, so once things got cooler, I headed out to water the garden beds.

Yesterday evening, after letting the silicon sealant cure for more than 24 hours, I filled the rain barrel by the garden, so today was the litmus test. I’m happy to report, there were no leaks at all at the cracks in the barrel.

With the barrel set up in the shade of a tree, the water in it was actually still cool! But not cold, which I’m sure the squash pants appreciated. Some of the leaves look like they got shocked by the cold, the last time I used a hose to water them.

While watering the beets and carrot beds, I startled a little friend.

It even gave me a chance to get pretty close with my phone to take pictures, before disappearing. This is the first time I’ve seen one of the green tree frogs jumping out of these beds. Gosh, they’re pretty!

While there, I decided to check on my other green friend, in the chokecherry tree by the junk pile.

The caterpillar is still there – and noticeably bigger! If you look at the veins in the leaf to compare between the two dates, you can see he’s quite a bit longer. The colouring has smoothed out, too. I’ll have to check again over the next while; he might get as big as the ones I found when I was a kid!

I’m happy to add that I saw flashes if kittens while making my way between the garden beds. While I was checking on the caterpillar, Butterscotch even emerged from the spirea to say hello and let me pet her. 🙂

I’m glad she didn’t move her kittens.

The next thing I’ll be following up on is how things go tomorrow! We’re headed to the city for my husband’s first appointment with the pain clinic. I’m glad it’s finally happening, though to be honest, I don’t have much confidence in how it’ll go. After all these years, I think I’ve gotten way too jaded, but between the 2 years it took for my husband to get a 14 page form to fill out, and what was in the form itself, I am already not impressed with this place.

Mind you, I don’t think I’ll even be able to go in with him. They said he’ll have to wear a mask to go in, without anything about medical exemptions – and he has several conditions that would apply! I already know wearing a mask triggers my chronic cough, so maybe we’ll both be able to get exemptions, but I doubt it. Another reason for my expectations to be very low.

Hopefully, I will be proven wrong.

The Re-Farmer

Little Extras

I’ve just come back from adding a second layer of Plasti Dip to the picnic table legs and rain barrel, before starting on cooking. Then I realized I completely forgot to share a couple of things in my gardening post!

This is one of them; a friend among the cucamelons!

When watering the garden beds, we have been seeing a LOT of little frogs all over – more than I’ve ever seen before – but we do not see these green little tree frogs often.

We need to fill in those openings along the outside of the chimney blocks we’re using as planters. The tree frog will get out easily enough, but I had one of the other frogs end up in one, and it couldn’t get out. I ended up putting a stick in the hole for it to climb.

My mother also had a “gift” for me, yesterday.

A whole bunch of cucumbers! One of the local Hutterite colonies is quite involved with places like were my mother lives. Every year they host a dinner for widows and widowers, they regularly provide entertainment, and so on. Every now and then, they drop off produce in the lobby for anyone who wants! This time, it was a whole bunch of cucumbers. My mother took a lot (I really hope she didn’t take more than her fair share. 😦 ) and gave me about half of what she had. I haven’t decided what to do with them, yet, but she plans to do quick pickles.

I’ve haven’t done pickles since I was a kid helping my mother! We might just make cucumber salads with them.

The Re-Farmer