Clean up: west fence line and maple grove

Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.

Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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I thought this was cool!

We have a provincial election coming up, with voting day on the same day we have a medical appointment for my husband in the city, so we are taking advantage of the advance polls being open right now.

I’d already voted and had to go through the whole registration process a few days ago, so when the girls and I came in, I had some time on my hands while they did the paperwork.

The location just happens to have a Pokemon Go gym at it, so I went outside to conquer it.

While I was doing that, I noticed some beautiful fungi at the bottom of a maple tree.

While pausing to take pictures, I noticed something amazing about the tree.

I’m going to stack the photos below and hopefully give you some sense of what I was seeing.

Woodpeckers have drilled a trench up the tree, then into the tree, with holes opening it up along the way.

That blows my mind is that the tree is somehow still alive! There is very little bark left on it.

While taking those pictures, I noticed the tree next to it.

With this, just a short distance from my head.

I have a hard time believing no one has noticed it, since it’s clearly been there a while. Which means it’s been left there on purpose. This is a municipal owned property, and all I can think when I see that is “liability.” !!

I can see where other trees have been taken down, plus there are pieces of tree trucks strewn about artistically in the grass. The trees are obviously tended to, in a general sense.

Though the power lines to the building run right through several trees.

*sigh*

Anyhow.

I just thought that swooping, bird created trench and holes in the one tree was really amazing and wanted to share it. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Two more down

Between the high winds and rain we’ve been having recently, it’s been a while since my rounds have included all the perimeter of the spruce grove.

The predicted storms have, once again, passed us by – this time to the south – but we have been getting rain almost constantly for the last while.

Which would have been wonderful in the spring. The farmers in the middle of harvesting their crops are now being hit with a triple whammy. A cold late spring followed by a hot dry summer, and now when hot and dry is what the crops need, it’s cold and wet.

That’s the reality of farming, though, and everyone just goes with it. What else can you do?

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Location, location, location!

Location makes all the difference.

Even if you’re a chokecherry tree.

While picking a few more raspberries, I noticed some significant differences in the nearby chokecherry tree, compared to last year. Specifically, the ripening berries are already larger than the fully ripe berries I’d picked from this tree last year.

This location is closer to the house, where it gets shaded for much of the day by nearby spruce trees and the maple grove. Last year, I pruned this tree back and, thanks to my watering the transplanted raspberries, it got watered along with them.

I decided to check out the other two chokecherry trees among the lilacs that run along the north fence, where they (the lilacs) do a bang-up job keeping out the dust from cars passing by on the gravel road.

There are not a lot of berries on this one that I could see, and they are mostly very green; I made a point of getting a picture of the reddest ones I could find. These berries are quite a bit smaller than the tree closer to the house, though I’d say they are the same size as last year.

This tree is mostly hidden by lilac bushes, with a few branches leaning over where I mow. No watering happens this far from the house, other than what nature provides, and there has been no clean up or pruning of any kind. This tree is also in the section bordered to the south by a row of trees that was self-sown when my mother had raspberry bushes there. She transplanted the raspberries, but left the trees, splitting up a section of the old garden. The last time it was plowed, there was some attempt to plow along the north side of the trees, too, but with the trees there, that area is unusable for gardening.

She is not understanding why I see them and their location as a problem.

While this tree does get a lot of sun, that row of self-sown trees is large enough that, at certain times of day, they do shade it a bit. This is also near the end of the row of lilacs. After that, there are mature elms along the fence line that shade the area in the evening.

There is another chokecherry tree among the lilacs, and when I got to it, I found quite a surprise.

This tree has massive amounts of almost ripe berries!

Like the other tree among the lilacs, the only watering it’s been getting has been whatever rain we’ve had, and there has been zero pruning or clean up. The main difference is that there are no tall trees to shade it; just the lilacs it is growing with. Which means it gets full sun almost from sunrise to sunset. This time of year, I’d say about 9 or 10 hours of full sun a day, plus maybe 1 1/2 – 2 hours of non-direct light.

I would say the berries are about the same size as last year, though they are slightly bigger than the other one among the lilacs.

Earlier today, I was able to acquire a starter kit of equipment to start brewing mead. In looking up recipes, I’m excited to try some combinations. We’re already going to be using honey locally produced by my cousin. Some of the recipes include fruit and berries. I look forward to trying it out using our own sour cherries and chokecherries. Over time, we could also try it with raspberries (we won’t have enough this year) or Saskatoon berries (I think we’ll have to start over with new trees, though), haskap and other types of fruits and berries we will be growing as time goes by.

I think our first batch will be plain honey mead, as we learn the ropes, but I will be freezing cherries and chokecherries as we gather them (freezing helps with the release of natural sugars) to use in later batches.

I’m pretty excited about trying this out!!

Meanwhile…

Seeing how the same type of tree is doing in three different locations is giving me good information for when we are ready to plant other types of fruit, berry and nut trees around the property.

It’s all about location!

The Re-Farmer

Catch up time

Yesterday, when it looked like the predicted thunderstorms were actually going to pass over us, we shut down our computers and enjoyed the show.

We didn’t get anything too severe, so it turned out to be unnecessary, but why take chances? 😀

We did get some wonderful, much needed rain, though!

First up, here is a kitten fix for you to enjoy. 🙂

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Basement finds and explorations

It’s been a hot one here today, so not a lot of outside stuff until later on. It was fascinating to find out from a dear friend that, in the city we moved away from, they had only 8C, and not too far from there, people got snow!

One of the things I need to do is re-pot some of our indoor plants. Today, I made a trip into the basements (which I usually avoid, because my feet and stairs don’t get along at the best of times!) to rifle through the various plant pots I had seen hidden in various places.

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Still falling, still alive, and kitten news

With so many branches of all sizes fallen during the storm, I’m still picking up ones I’ve missed around the yard, along with new ones that have fallen since.

While I have been staying away from working on the outer yard, I did notice a fairly large branch had fallen near the chain link fence, so yesterday evening, I went and dragged it out.

I ended up dragging out other dead branches that had been there before, as well, but none were as big as this one.

It will be good to finally clean up around and between these old maples. When I was a kid, the fence was on the other side of them, and they were part of the inner yard.

They are not doing very well.

I’m pleased to find, however, that another maple IS doing well.

When I cleared here last year, taking out a rotting stump, I found it had actually been supporting the still living part of the tree. It tipped over precariously, so I straightened it and tried to give it support at ground level. It tipped again, if not quite so much, and I had my doubts if it would survive.

I’m happy to say, it is looking quite healthy! Just a couple of dead branches that will need pruning.

As I doing my rounds in the morning, I pick up any branches that have fallen during the night. I was doing just that in the south yard, under one of the Chinese elms, when I heard some noise above me – looking up just in time to see another dead branch fall down and land next to me!

Picking up fallen branches is one of those never ending chores. Like dishes. No matter how many times you do them, they always come back!

The Re-Farmer

Addendum:

Sorry! I had to hurry because a roofing company was coming over to do an estimate, and didn’t get to include the kitten news!

With my daughter’s help, I was able to get photos of each of the kittens, and the 2 moms. I’d already got permission from the administrator of a regional Facebook group that includes the city, and posted the pictures last night.

The first person who responded told me I should go to a rescue society, get them fixed, because there were too many kittens.

It was very condescending.

Then I got a response from someone talking about how we probably have more all over the place beyond the ones she’s seen, and even made a comment about how she thought they looked “demented.”

This person has never been here, and has never seen these kittens.

I recognize the last name, so this is probably someone who lives in the area. In fact, she might even live on the property on the other side of my brother’s place, at which point, she might be thinking of his yard cats. I don’t know, but it was a weird comment!!

Thankfully, I also got three people expressing an interest in adopting. One lives 2 hours away, but if things work out, we might be able to meet half way, in the city, at the end of the month and we can deliver a kitty when we do our monthly shop. The kittens will be old enough to leave by then.

We shall see how it works out!