A garden preview, and kitty video

Much of today has been a total waste. I got almost no sleep last night, and it was basically all because of the cats! First, there was the constant stream of cats wanting in and out. I swear, even the cats that are outside the door have a sense of when I’m finally lying down and comfortable in bed, because that’s when they start scratching at the door again! As the ladies have been able to tolerate more of the other cats, that means more scratching at the door to be let in or out.

All that, because we’ve got two cats that always go after Nosencrantz, forcing me to keep the door closed to keep them out!

The other cause of interruption was Nosencrantz.

I have one small window I can open – a window with a deep sill the cats like to sit on. The screens on all the new windows are high quality, but the cats have still managed to damage all of them. With mine, I tried to have most of it blocked off with a window fan, a salvaged metal mesh window screen and a hunk of Styrofoam insulation, to protect the screen, but even when the fan was put away for the winter and the window kept closed, the screen would get clawed at. I finally removed it completely – then had to hide it behind the metal mesh screen – because Nozencratnz still wanted claw at it!

We ended up getting what is supposed to be cat proof window screen, and have replaced the screens on several windows, mine included.

Yes. It’s supposed to be cat proof. However, I don’t think even cat proof window screen can withstand a cat sitting up on its hind end and going at it with both front paws! Even if the screen managed to survive the attack without getting holes, chances are it would get yanked right out of the frame, eventually.

That’s what I was trying to stop all night. Nosencrantz is fixated on clawing on that screen! I even jammed the salvaged screen in front of it. It’s narrower than the window, and Nosencrantz would just reach around the metal mesh screen, to claw at the window’s screen! There aren’t even any bugs or blown in fluff that she’s after. She’s just after the screen!

So that was another thing that had me getting up repeatedly. Oh, and also the sound of cats using the carpet as a scratching post, instead of the scratching post… ๐Ÿ˜•

I’ve now stolen my husband’s box fan, which fills the window almost completely. I just had to stick some cardboard between the wall and a shelf to cover a gap on one side. Hopefully, at least that problem is solved.

The whole thing left me feeling awful by morning. A sleep repeatedly interrupted is far worse than simply being up all night. It’s not even feeling physically sleepy that’s the problem, though I was so physically tired, I felt ill. It’s the affect on mental acuity that really knocks me out.

The girls took care of feeding the outside cats and taking the transplants out so I could sleep in, but I still found myself constantly awakened and having to open and close my door. I finally gave up and tried to leave it open, cat fight or no, only to have the breeze from my open window slam it shut, over and over!

Yeah. I was pretty miserable this morning, and finally gave up.

The afternoon, at least, was better after indulging in my last energy drink. ๐Ÿ™„ I finally went outside to see how much work I could manage to get done.

Which turned out to be far more than I expected.

I took a significant risk today.

I did some transplanting of squash and gourds!

Normally, these would not go in until about the middle of June, but some of them were getting quite large. I didn’t want to keep potting them up, and they were getting so big that taking them in and out of the sun room to harden off was damaging them.

I took photos of the progress and will put together a small video later, but here is a preview.

Four of the transplants were climbers, so I cleaned up the blocks and transplanted them here. Because they all can potentially get quite large, I put them in every other block. In the foreground is the Zucca melon. I put it there so it has room to expand away from the others.

I thought the next one was also a Zucca melon, but when I took out the label, it said African Drum gourd. We have extra, much smaller, seedlings of both. The next two are the Caveman’s Club gourds.

All of them are long enough that I was able to get their tendrils wrapped around the chain link fence and start training them up it or, with the Zucca melon, away down the side. These all are supposed to have fairly large fruit, though with the Caveman’s Club, they are more about length than girth. If any of these reach the point of developing fruit, we’ll figure out how best to support them.

The next thing that had to go in were the Crespo squash.

Then went into the bed we had a hulless pumpkin variety in last year, near the old squash/bean tunnel. This will likely be the last year we use this spot for gardening, and hopefully we’ll be able to plant something for our food forest here, next year. We shall see.

The Crespo squash plants can get really huge, which is part of the reason they went in this far away bed. The old rain barrel I filled yesterday is nearby – but it was only about a quarter full when I got to it today! I couldn’t see if it developed a new crack, or if the seal on one of the old ones gave out.

We really need more rain barrles.

I’m quite glad I found that one last hose in the old garden shed, so I could give this area a thorough watering. I’ll have to keep that up for at least a few days to make sure it’s damp through the new mulch, all the way down through the layers we put here, least year.

I’m reeeeaaallllyyy hoping I didn’t jump the gun by transplanting these so early. There is no sign of frost in the long range forecasts. In fact, June is looking like it’s going to be quite hot, and rainy. If, however, we do find ourselves with a frost warning, I think we’d be able to add covers to protect things fairly well.

After I was done and putting things away, I fed the outside cats for the evening (and chased away a couple of skunks eating their kibble!). Judgement is still limping, and the foot seems to be bothering him more. He still won’t let me look at it, so I tried seeing if I could sneak a look through my phone’s camera.

It didn’t really work, but I did get this video!

I did not get a response to my email to the vet, asking about being able to bring him in as we are able to catch him, without an appointment. I’ll have to remember to phone them, tomorrow.

So I did get at least something useful done today. If the weather holds, this early planting will make a big positive difference for things like the drum gourds and Zucca melon.

I’m not sure what I will plant in the empty blocks. Ideally, it would be some other climber, but since I expect the fence to eventually get completely engulfed by what just got planted, perhaps it would be better to choose a shade loving plant, instead. We’ll see.

I’m just happy to have gotten at least a bit of productivity in today!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 Garden: Purple Peruvian Potatoes planted

Well, we got one out of two done!

I thought we would have more than enough old feed bags to use for both types of potatoes we have left to plant, but I was wrong! The Purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes alone, took 14 of the 19 bags we had!

I made a quick little video with the photos I took. It’s less than a minute and a half long. ๐Ÿ˜

The first time we grew potatoes in feed bags, we were intending to do the tower thing, expecting to add more material to the bags several times throughout the summer. Then we found out that potatoes come in both determinate and indeterminate types – and we had determinates. They aren’t the right kind for growing in towers, so there was no benefit to adding more material. The plants got huge, though, and the bags couldn’t support them. With that in mind, this time I made sure to add quite a lot of straw to the tops of the bags. It should help support the plant stems, and hopefully the bags as well.

So now we have to figure out how and where to plant the Red Thumb fingerling potatoes.

I wonder if there are too many to plant in that bed along the old kitchen garden retaining wall I just finished reworking?

The Re-Farmer

Look who followed me! Plus, car trouble. Again.

I spent some time just sitting outside before going to bed last night, enjoying the cool of the evening. Having the swing bench outside, to make room for the transplants in the sun room, is really nice.

Of course, Gooby was all over me, wanting lots of attention!

It was starting to get pretty dark when I heard what sounded like the beginnings of a cat fight in the outer yard, so I went to investigate. I never found the cats I was hearing, but the sound of frogs from the pond and gravel pit was so loud, I decided to go the outer yard fence and try and capture it on video. The grass from last year is still tall, but now has new growth in it, so it took some effort to get through!

I was in the middle of taking a short video when I could hear something in the grass behind me, coming closer and closer.

Then my legs got attacked.

In a loving way!

Make sure your speakers are on, to hear all the frogs!

I made sure to carry him back with me. I wouldn’t want an owl to make off with him!

Gooby just can’t seem to get enough attention from humans.

In other things, I made a quick trip to the post office to pick up a parcel this morning, and the check engine light turned on in my mother’s car.

*sigh*

My daughter did the driving yesterday and it had turned on then. I heard the ding when it turned on, but didn’t know what it was. She assumed I already knew about it, but it had not turned on before. I tried hooking up my OBDII reader, but it won’t connect with my phone. I had the problem before, and it was a problem with the phone’s BluTooth, not the reader. I have a new phone now and this is the first time I’ve tried to use the reader with it.

So I contacted our mechanic about it. I can drop by any time tomorrow afternoon and they’ll check it out.

Right now, we’re not using the van at all until we can get it to the garage to get a noise checked out. We won’t have the budget for that until next month. My mother’s car, however, is a higher priority right now. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, we’ll have to dip into the money being set aside for a down payment on replacement van. Which would really suck. Hopefully, it will be something minor.

Today is not going to be a very productive day outside. In fact, I’m not even taking the transplants outside to harden off today. As I write this, we are already at 27C/81F, and may reach as high as 30C/86F by the evening, depending on which app I look at. We don’t have a shady spot to set out the transplants, and I don’t want them to get sunburned or bake in their pots.

It also means, no one is going to be doing things like sifting the garden soil and hauling wheelbarrow loads over, to fill the bags we’ll be planting the potatoes in, until things start cooling off. Looking at the forecast for the day, that likely won’t be until tomorrow morning. We’re supposed to reach our hottest temperatures at about 4pm, and stay hot for several hours. The days are getting longer, but not that long!

Still, I’m hoping to get at least some things done. We need to break out the wood chipper, so we can run straw from last year’s deep mulch beds through the shredder, as well as some of the wood chips from the pile. The big commercial wood chipper the tree guys have did a great job of breaking down the branch piles that our wood chipper can’t do – mostly because they are too crooked to fit into the chipper! – but the resulting chips are quite course. That’s fine for mulching around trees, or to add among the layers filling a new raised bed, but is a bit hard to work around when used as mulch on the top of a garden bed. Plus, breaking the straw or wood chips down finer means they will break down into the soil faster, too, and our soil really needs that organic matter.

We are also going to have to break out the lawn mower! Especially in the outer yard, in front of the barn, where we were unable to mow last year. If we don’t get that under control quickly, it’s going to be a lot more difficult later on. Plus, grass clippings are gold, and we’ll need a lot of it for the garden beds! I don’t even bother putting on the grass catcher. It fills too quickly. Plus, I find that if I let the clippings sit for a couple of days to dry, then rake it up, it’s easier to work with.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to reach “only” about 18 or 20C/64 or 68F, and then get some rain the day after, so I hope to get at least the area around the pile of garden soil mowed, so I’m not fighting the wheelbarrow through tall grass with every load.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Finally done!

I put together a video of the work I did yesterday. No audio, so I wanted to add music to it today.

I spent so much time trying to find public domain music that fit the mood I wanted. Then my daughter came in and helped me pick music that was already in the software I’m using, in a matter of minutes.

She’s now interested in making videos. I have no doubt she would do a better job than me! So at some point, you might start seeing better quality videos getting posted.

For now, this is what I got done yesterday.

We settled on this location for the new Liberty apple tree for several reasons. The main one is, it is a zone 4 tree, which means it will need more protection in the winter. Where I was thinking of planting it originally is far more exposed, and will remain so until the silver buffalo berry reaches maturity.

Here, it will get full sun, but also be sheltered from the north by the lilacs. It also needs another variety of apple tree for pollination. While I took down the one crab apple tree, there are the ornamental crab apples in the old kitchen garden, plus another crab apple tree, though we’ll see how well that one does. It will likely be taken down, eventually.

The little plum trees were also removed; we’ll see how the larger ones do this year. These are not edible plums, though my father did use them for wine making sometimes. They have almost no flesh around their pits.

If all goes well, we’ll start having apples to harvest in a few years. The new apple tree can reach a mature height of 18-20, so if we do plant any other fruit trees here, we will need to keep that in mind. If we do end up taking out the one crab apple, and possibly the remaining inedible plums, I figure we have room for one more fruit tree here.

My parents planted so many things in this little area over the years; I remember there being mountain ash (there are none left at all now), a pear tree, other crab apple trees, plus I thinned out caragana and lilac. Oh, and there’s the big linden tree at one end, now. It’s one of the few things that is doing well! I’m sure there were other things that came and went in the 30 or so years I’ve been away.

Now that I’ve cleared as much as I have, the lilacs will hopefully grow better. When I first cleared the area of dead stuff back in 2018, I found most of the lilacs had stretched to very unusual heights. They had leaves pretty much only at the top, as they struggled to get sunlight. They are recovering, but still a lot lankier than lilacs normally would be.

The main thing, though, is that the new apple tree and the tulips have that barrier around them. It’s small enough that I hope no deer will consider it worth trying to jump it. Over time, we will add things to the wire to blow, flash and make noise in the wind.

One thing I noticed only after watching the time lapse video I took.

I had a LOT of cats running around while I worked!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: potatoes chitting, and progress video

Okay, it took WAY longer than it should have, but I finally finished a video I was working on. I ended up leaving my computer on all night to upload it. I don’t know that I’m happy with it, but it shows what I want it to show, and that’s the main thing.

First, though…

I took the potatoes that came in yesterday and laid them out on egg trays to chit for a bit longer. They all already have shoots, so we’ll need to get them into the feed bag-grow bags we’ll be using this year, soon.

These are the Purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes.

They don’t look very purple!

None look like they need to be cut into smaller pieces, so I won’t see how purple they are on the inside, but when these come fresh out of the ground, they are so dark a purple, they’re almost black. Right now, there’s just purple in the new growth.

It’s the same thing with the Red Thumb fingerlings. If it weren’t for the red cast to the shoots, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from these ones. At least the Irish Cobbler ones look more distinctive, just because they’re not a fingerling variety!

For now, they’re all laid out in the trays and set up in the sun room.

While going my rounds this morning, I checked the planted beds. I can’t see that any poppies are coming up, but there may be seedling coming up in the areas planted with the alternative lawn mix. There are most definitely spinach seedlings coming up, though! As for the carrots… I may have goofed. There are lots of things coming up in there. Mostly dandelions. So much for weeding out as many roots as we could! But I can’t see anything that looks like carrots coming up. The problem may be their cover. Once planted, it’s really important that carrot seeds never dry out. That’s why I put the hoops and covered them with plastic. The thing is, it likely got too hot for them under there. Perfect conditions for any weeds, but not for carrot seeds.

I uncovered the bed yesterday, to allow the bed to be rained on. We’ll watch closely over the next while and if they don’t germinate, I’ll replant the bed. We used the entire packet of a new variety of seeds in there, but I have two other varieties waiting to be planted.

Speaking of which, we have pretty much decided not to transplant those teeny little mulberry saplings. At least not outside, this year. What we’ll most likely do is put them up into larger pots and wait until they are larger and more likely to survive being outside.

We’ve also decided to plant that apple tree in the more sheltered spot in the West yard. We’ll have to clear away some dead and dying trees, first, so it might still be a day or two.

The bed along the chain link fence is also ready for a proper weeding now, and we can finally plant our peas.

Lots of work to be done!

But first, here is the video showing the transformation of the Old Kitchen garden, and then I have to go pick up some parcels in the mail!

Please feel free to watch the video on YouTube, like, subscribe, leave a comment, etc.. Any feedback, here or on YouTube (I’ll later upload it to Rumble, too) would be greatly appreciated.

Enjoy!

(Also, I need to learn how to make a thumbnail image to properly fit! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 Garden: planting carrots! (video)

Okay, this is a first. Planting something in April!

We had a bed prepared and covered with plastic over hoops for the soil to warm up more, so that is where I started. All of the carrot seed tape we made fit into the bed, with even a bit of room to spare. After that, another bed was finally prepared and covered with more plastic, and in a couple of days, it will get spinach planted in it.

I tried an experiment this time, setting up an old phone to take a time lapse video of both jobs.

Plus some random cat appearances.

The time lapse made for a short video. I hope you enjoy it!

The Re-Farmer

Mid month video tour, just a few eggs, and I have the best friends!

The video I was working on yesterday finally exported into the format I needed without any visual corruption, and I was finally able to start uploading it to YouTube.

It’s only 26 minutes long, but the uploaded told me it would take 2 hours to upload. !!! So I went for a nap for 2 hours.

When I got up and checked, it was at under 50% upload, and said it would take another two hours.

Yikes!!!

So I went into town early to run some errands before meeting with the egg lady. I got just a few eggs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m looking to boil a whole bunch and pickle them for snacks or quick breakfasts.

One of my other stops was to the post office. See that white box over there? Guess what was in it?

Popcorn!

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

That all went for the birds when I was done.

Cheddar helped me check out the rest of the contents! I love the vintage jars. Especially the milk jar with a handle on it. I’ve never seen one like that before!

I will definitely have to look up that brand of stock cubes. The store these came from had a brand that used to carry all kinds of interesting flavoured stock cubes. Garlic and Basil, and mushroom, like these ones, but also Fines Herbs, fish, seafood, and pork, along with the usual beef, chicken and vegetable. After we moved and we started running out of the ones we brought with us, I found the company’s website, only to discover they carry just the basics now. None of the interesting ones, anymore. This brand is from Italy. I hope they are available online, from a Canadian supplier. Otherwise, shipping costs would be through the roof! Those Polish candies… what a treat! I’ve loved those since I was a child, but they are not easy to find. After moving out here, I found some and was quite thrilled to buy them, only to discover they were… another brand? I don’t know. They looked the same, but they didn’t taste the same, and were rubbery to chew on. Like they were a knock off brand or something.

Yes, I allowed myself to have one, even though I’m cutting sugar. I’m not going to be too extreme about things!

We’re really looking forward to cracking open the sun dried olives. Even before we moved, the ones we used to get – sundried and packed with salt in jars – seemed to have disappeared. Finding them packed in oil is not that difficult, but there’s just something different about the dry packed ones.

And finally, the seeds! I can’t find a country on the packaging, but that could just be my crappy vision. It looks like they’re from Italy, too. I know forget-me-nots can grow here; my mother used to grow them. My younger daughter was quite excited to see those. I’m the food grower. She’s the one that wants to grow flowers! Of course, we’ll have to try the lettuce, too. At some point, after we’re done with the seed starts and transplants, we’ll be setting up a pot to grow some salad greens indoors. Just a few plants in different varieties. Planting them in the garden was just too much for our needs. Plus, even when we didn’t have groundhogs trying to eat them, we still had to protect them from the kittens wanting to roll all over the beds!

Thank you so much, M, for sending us these! What a treat! You’re awesome. ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›

Oh! And here’s that video I was finally able to upload!

The Re-Farmer

Taking us for fools

I forgot. I should have filled the tank again on my way home yesterday.

Quick Dick explains it well.

The cost of everything is going to go up again.

This is going to hurt so many people.

Folks, if you haven’t started to grow and raise as much of your own food as you can (and this is a worldwide problem), get starting doing what you can, as best you can.

The Re-Farmer