Garden tour video – finally!

Oh, my goodness, what a pain.

It took until just past 2am for my video to upload – only for YouTube to end processing, because it was longer than 15 minutes. I’m sure I’ve uploaded videos longer than that in the past. Worse, to fix the problem, I had to give them a phone number to verify my account – then delete the upload and start all over again.

Five hours later, the upload is done, but YouTube is still doing their checks, including HD processing. I’ve never had any troubles like this before!

But, it’s up! And here it is. I hope you like it, because it was a real pain to get it available! If there are any troubles viewing it, please let me know.

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: Outdoors on the Cheap

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

With spring finally arriving, the days getting longer, I find myself wanting to spend as much time outdoors as I can get away with – which made me think of an outdoorsy YouTube channel I follow!

This channel is still relatively new at the time I’m writing this, but I’ve included its creator in my previous series of Recommended sites, Maritime Gardening. Outdoors on the Cheap is all about enjoying the great outdoors without breaking the bank! In fact, I’ll just let Greg explain it himself.

The range of topics covered is quite broad, including everything from why he wears a neck knife, to how to make a fire if you’ve fallen into the water while in the woods, to using an ax and a knife to carve a tree into a paddle, to…

… making a comfortable chair in the woods.

You’ll find videos on the best and cheapest boats you can get to enjoy some fishing, how to repair it if necessary, and videos on how to load them into your vehicle.

He even talks about how to deal with some of the more psychological aspects of overnighting in the woods.

Along with videos about fishing, hunting, rifles and snares, you’ll find survival information, such as what to include in a fire kit, and plenty about getting good use out of cheap, basic axes and knives, then how to take care of them.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos exploring different ways to make survival shelters, which all have their own benefits, but it’s rare indeed to find any quite as basic as someone building a shelter and fire after a Canadian ice storm.

The channel is just chock full of practical, basic information.

I just really like how down to earth these are. You really get the sense that pretty much anyone can follow along and do the same, and not have to be… oh… ex-military, or some survivalist guru.

So I definitely recommend checking out the Outdoors on the Cheap YouTube channel, and if you go to the About page, you’ll find URLs to follow on Twitter and Facebook, too.

I now have this sudden urge to go out in the bush with some basic tools, and just… doing stuff. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: MIgardener

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

I sort of hesitated to include this one in my Recommended series, because it seems like everyone knows MIgardener! Still, I’ve been learning a lot from their YouTube channel, and have already included some of their videos in previous posts, so here it is! Be sure to check out their About page for links to various social media, and check out their website here.

While it’s their YouTube channel I spend most of my time on, the website is a dangerous place for me to be, because they sell seeds! This year, I tried to focus on Canadian seed sources for most things. Especially if it’s a supplier that grows their own seeds in our climate zone. But I’m a sucker for seeds, and MIgardener has things I haven’t seen anywhere else, which is another of my weaknesses. If a variety is uncommon or rare, I want to grow it, so I can save seeds and help keep it from being lost!

That, and I just plain like trying new things. It’s not like these are varieties we’ll find in the grocery stores, or even the farmer’s markets, so the only way to find out if we like them is to grow them!

Quite a few people on the gardening groups I’m on have bought seeds from MIgardener, and have had nothing but positive things to say about them. I like that the website has characteristics you can select, or in/out of stock seeds.

As I write this, when it’s on “all seeds”, there are 669 products to choose from. When I selected “cold hardy” only, that number drops to 58!

They also have a curated Homesteaders Collection of seeds that looks really good. I appreciate that they’ve been chosen for things like canning and storage, as well as fresh eating.

Their videos cover every aspect of gardening.

Do you want to start seeds indoors? Should you start seeds indoors? Is starting early better? He covers it all.

Looking to build some raised beds to transplanted those seeds you started indoors into? He’s got you covered.

Need to figure out where to put those raised beds? He’ll help you figure that out, too.

It’s not all about growing outside, though. Are you a coffee drinker?

Yeah. They sell coffee seeds, too. There are videos on how to grow a variety of fruit trees and berries, too, as well as a number of specific herbs and vegetables.

They don’t just talk about their successes, though.

They’re open about their failures, too.

Right now, there is a huge interest in saving seeds, and they’ve got a playlist on how to save seeds from a wide variety of plants.

Yes, they sell seeds, and are also teaching you how to save seeds, so you don’t have to buy more of them!

Of course there are videos on harvesting your crops, as well as videos on how to cook, can and preserve them. They’ve been putting up videos for 11 years, as of this writing, so there is LOT of information available!

Whether you’re a beginning gardener, or an experienced gardener what wants to look up specific information, I definitely recommend checking out MIgardener. It will be time well spent!

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: Perma Pastures Farm

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

After my recent post about being able to get a generous amount of cardboard to start new garden beds, I wanted to share about a resource I found fairly recently. Perma Pastures Farm. You can visit their website here – definitely visit their About page – or peruse their YouTube channel here. You’ll find more links in the description boxes of their videos.

I must really be a sucker for punishment, following all these homesteader channels that are in much warmer climate zones than we are! I’m loving it, though, and a lot of what I’ve been learning from them can be used in any climate zone. Like this video on creating an “instant garden”.

Which is basically what we’re doing right now, in what will be this year’s potato beds.

I’d love to have a broad fork like that! I’m not sure how much use we’d get out of it in our old garden area, though, considering how rocky it is. It looks like a really awesome tools, though.

Permaculture is one of a number of things I’ve been discovering, where I was already working towards it as a goal, without knowing there was a name for it. 😀

I like how they’re finding ways to make use of areas that often get forgotten about or ignored. I look forward to seeing how things work out with their hügelkultur hill. I also appreciate how he encourages doing things unconventionally.

Suddenly, I’m thinking of my mother and how she gets because I’m gardening differently than she did! 😀

What an amazing polytunnel they’re working on, all from recycled materials!

Hearing them talk about comfrey, and that it’s something they sell, I got curious and looked it up. I was already familiar with comfrey for wound healing. After we home birthed our second daughter, my midwife provided us with powdered comfrey to apply to my perineal tear. It worked incredibly well. What I didn’t know was all the other things it’s good for! It looks like something we might even be able to grow in our zone, too. Definitely something to include, as we start incorporating more herbs into our gardening.

Of course, not all their videos are about about growing things, and sometimes they cover other topics completely. In fact, it was one of those videos that showed up in my YouTube feed that first introduced me to the channel. It was this video…

Yeah. THIS. 100%

After seeing this video, I just had to check out their channel and subscribed in a heartbeat.

Being Canadian, when I spotted the title, I just had to check this one out.

This was made in early February, 2022, not that long after the Freedom Convoy began making it’s way across Canada, to protest for our constitutional rights and freedoms in Ottawa. Which, by the way, is still going on, in various ways, even after our Prime Dictator illegally invoked the Emergency Act and continues to hold political prisoners. At the time of this writing, Canada is still under a de facto dictatorship. I’m glad he was able to come to Canada before we went completely insane.

Other topics you’ll find videos for include things like how to care an eating spoon, all sorts of videos on chickens and pigs – vital parts of their permaculture – butchering deer or lamb, cooking videos; pretty much anything homestead related.

And for those of you who would love to buy some land for potential homesteading, I leave you with one more video…

… an alternative way to be able to buy some land. Well worth checking it out.

Then go over to the Perma Pastures Farm channel and enjoy their many other videos!

The Re-Farmer

Gathering fur

While working on the old kitchen garden, I stepped a way a moment and came back to find this.

A chickadee was gathering some of the cat fur we’d tried leaving in the garden beds to deter the groundhogs. It didn’t work, but now a chickadee is gathering it to line its nest!

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: Sweet Adjeley

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

Here’s one for the foodies out there – especially if you like Ghanaian food! Sweet Adjeley, however, goes well beyond amazing looking stews, breads, snacks, sauces, and drinks.

Also, she has her own theme music. How cool is that?

There are a lot of videos here for those who are looking for how to make pantry essentials – and more! – from scratch. Which is how I found this awesome channel, when I found this video.

Somehow, I thought making tomato paste would be more complicated than this. Tomato paste is one of our pantry staples, but we haven’t been able to get our favourite brand since we’ve moved. I admit, we got very spoiled by having access to a particular local grocery store when we were still living in the city! 😀

After seeing this video, I felt making our own tomato paste was actually worth trying, and that’s why we’ve got so many Cup of Moldova paste tomato plants started! 😀

Of course, once I found this video, I had to keep looking, and was quickly joining the Sweet Team and subscribing, when I found videos like this.

Well, that looks like something well worth making! We don’t usually do shrimp, though. We do, however, regularly have chicken and beef.

We’ve made mushroom powder before, and mushroom ketchup, which gives both a liquid and powdered seasoning, but never powdered meat. I’ve made beef jerky, but it never occurred to me to powder it!

We’re going to need to invest in a blender, though. It’s been a long time since we’ve had one. They tend to not last very long for us, so the next one we get, I want to save up and get something more durable!

Of course, there’s also these kitchen staples.

Again, how easy is that?

We’d be dehydrating in our oven for now, but I don’t mind our home smelling like onions or garlic. 😉

This one was a surprise to me.

Yup. Milk powder – there are actually two videos on making powdered milk. Which we’ve been adding to our stash lately. It’s become quite expensive, too. While I don’t see us taking the time to make the powder ourselves, if we had our own milk cows, it would be a worthwhile way to use up excess milk.

Or we could make mozzarella.

With or without using rennet.

Among the other pantry staples you can learn how to make are a variety of flours (such as plantain, cassava, fufu, etc), corn starch, marinade cubes, ketchup, cream cheese, yogurt and more. You can even learn how to make your own extracts.

There are a wide variety of snacks, too. I really want to try these!

I have a thing for cornmeal. 😉

There are so many delicious looking savoury dishes I’d love to try, I could include at least a dozen more videos here! Plus there are non-food or drink related videos, like how to make your own shower gel, disinfectant wipes, do your nails, visits to markets…

But I won’t do that to you… Instead, I recommend you check out Sweet Adjeley yourself!

Funny. After going through so many videos, trying to decide which to include here, I’m suddenly feeling rather hungry. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: RED Gardens

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

We are back on a gardening theme this time, but with a major difference. RED Gardens: Research Education and Development Gardens.

And WOW what a set up they have! I’ll just quote a portion from their About page (where you will also find links to their other social media and Patreon pages).

Based on the explorations and discoveries of a series of food growing spaces, located in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Tipperary, Ireland. This RED Gardens Project (Research, Education and Development) consists of 6 family scale gardens each one 100m2 (1000sqf) and following a different methodology, or approach, to growing vegetables. There is also a larger Black Plot, of about 1000m2 (1/4 acre) which is exploring issues and possibilities of an intermediate scale growing space.

The YouTube channel has been around since 2016. As you can imagine, there is a wealth of information available!

This early video explains the different types of gardens they are testing on, plus there is a Black Plot.

There are a number of videos about specific crops, comparing how they did in the different growing environments. One of their most extreme years was growing 54 tomatoes varieties.

No, that’s not a typo. Fifty four.

No, they don’t grow that many varieties of tomatoes anymore!

Other videos comparing things like climbing beans, pole beans, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, eggplant and more. They even tried wheat.

Interestingly, this was a mix of wheat, not just one type. This plot produced enough to bake a surprising amount of bread. I like how he breaks down the math and calculated how much grain would need to be grown to produce enough flour to make X number of loves per week for a year. One thing I’ve never seen before is burying old, stale bread for trench composting.

And yes, bread was made with flour from this wheat.

How the bread was baked is really something to see! A multi-day process.

Their composting system has evolved quite a bit, over the years, which he explains in this video. I appreciate how he goes into dealing with their rat issues, too.

I think I’ll stick to my “just throw it on a heap” method. We end up burying our compostables in garden beds, anyhow.

Pests are another topic they cover, as well as things like different ways to water, making biochar, saving seeds, temporary microclimates, and so much more.

I like the yearly update videos.

It’s really impressive to see how things have worked out over the years, what was changed and why.

The goal at RED Gardens is to try different things, test and compare, collect and analyze the data, then make that information available to anyone who wants to grow their own food, as best they can, for their own circumstances, with the aide of the data provided. Most of us aren’t in a position to try so many varieties, or use so many different techniques. Having this data, even if growing in a different climate zone, can still be very useful.

And I admit – I kinda geek out every time I watch one of their videos.

Whether you’re a new gardener or an experienced on, I think you’ll find loads of great information at RED Gardens!

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: Lost in the Pond

Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

Today, let’s go for something fun; Lost in the Pond; America’s Finest British Import. Lawrence Brown moved to the US from Britain, and has turned his culture shock into some fantastic and hilarious YouTube videos, in his “…quest to uncover all of the memos that Britain and America Lost in the Pond!” He also has a presence on the usual social media, a website and a Patreon page.

Some of his earlier videos were so popular, they have gone on to become series.

Such as his videos on American Things Britain Doesn’t Even Have a Word For.

He’s also been working his way across the US with videos on how to pronounce different US place names.

Ha! Someone should do videos like with with Canadian place names, too. 😀

My favourites, though, highlight the differences in ordinary things.

Like kitchens…

… refrigerators…

… bedrooms…

Okay, I didn’t know the US had so many HUGE bed sizes.

Then there’s ordinary household objects.

To me, the faucet is the part the water runs from. The tap is the knob or lever you turn to make the water flow.

There’s also the differences in hotels.

He would get a laugh out of some of the elevators I’ve been in, that have things like M for Mezzanine, G1 or G2 for different ground floors, and buttons for the front or the back doors of the elevator. I once lived in an apartment building where my 3rd floor apartment was on the ground floor at the street level main lobby, while the 1st floor, ground level was two floors down, but opened out to a courtyard near a lagoon. It also had two underground parking levels, the side lane entrance to which was under my 3rd floor, street level apartment.

I really enjoyed this one.

After our second daughter was born, I got a cookbook that covered how to make meals that could be adapted for adults/older kids, toddlers and baby food, all from the same recipe. It turned out to be a British cookbook. It took me forever to figure out what courgettes and aubergine were!

Also, what they’re calling as either a gyro or a … donna kabab? Is that what he’s saying?

We know them as Donairs. That’s a Canadian thing.

Oh, how I miss a real Donair.

Gotta love the winter related ones.

Being Canadian, some of the laughs I get is because we are such a mix of both the US and Britain in our everyday lives! 😀

At the time I’m writing this, there are 6 years of videos to enjoy, and I do hope you have a chance to go through many of them. They’re a hoot! Well worth recommending.

The Re-Farmer

Saturated

My daughters went for a walk in the rain, and one of them got photos and video. I decided it was easiest to just put them together in a video.

I went through most of these areas less than a week ago. What a difference!

Closer to the house, the inner and outer yards are getting thoroughly saturated, with standing water in places I’ve never seen water collecting in.

Thankfully, the old basement doesn’t seem to be getting any more water seeping into it, though I can see through the floor drain that water flowing from the weeping tile under the new basement has increased. I moved the big blower fan to a different spot, and the window has been switched to the summer screen window, with the plastic cover still leaning over it, so no rain can go directly into the window. The improved air circulation might be helping keep the damp from spreading too much.

Our provincial government has announced they’re giving $15 million dollars to the municipalities for road repairs. I figure that’ll run out in about a week. :-/ After spending billions of tax dollars on things like phone apps for the Vid, I expect they’ll be crying poverty, now that the funds are needed for what they were intended for.

Forgive me if I sound a bit cynical. We continue to be okay where we are, but I know many others will be struggling not to lose their homes and farms to the flooding. Even our short range weather forecast has changed. Instead of 2 days without rain, followed by 2 days with light rain, now we’re supposed to have 1 day without rain followed by 3 days of rain, with the heaviest rain on the second day.

We shall see how things work out.

The Re-Farmer

Road conditions – extended!

This morning, while switching out the trail cam memory cards, I found a new sign on the main road past our place.

That is not where I expected to see a road closed sign! This road has a lot of traffic, as it’s the main road to get to quite a few farms. I wasn’t surprised that there might be a problem, though. The municipal drainage ditch that washed out the road I’ve been checking crossed the main road about a half mile up from here. I just would have expected the road to be closed further to the east of this intersection.

I saw a large excavator going by our place yesterday, so I decided to walk to the washout and see what, if anything, was done there.

It turns out, nothing. I could see the tread marks continue past the washed out area.

This is the section that’s too deep for me to try and cross with my short rubber boots. The third area I saw yesterday that was starting to wash out has gotten bigger, but overall, things have not gotten much worse. During my walk up, it seemed that the water had receded in a few places in the fields, too.

I did get some video; this is raw from the camera, with no editing.

The winds from the north were quite high – enough to make me glad I wore my winter parka this morning, as I was walking back against the wind!

With the amount of snow that has melted away, and the water around the inner and outer yards somewhat receded, I went over to check on the septic field (which, as my brother pointed out when I called it that, isn’t actually a septic field, because we have an ejector. It’s the area where the grey water and, this spring, at least, runoff collects) and the sheds that I could get at. There was enough snow gone that I decided to check our back gate.

I’m glad I did!

It’s completely torn loose! The other end is held up by the chain and lock. You can see the U nails/staples in the gate post. The wire mesh of the gate was torn right off. Considering there is snow on top of the mesh, this happened quite some time ago, but we haven’t been able to get over this way to see it.

My guess: deer on the road got startled and plowed their way through the gate.

This secondary driveway accesses the main road. Since the gate was down anyway, I decided to walk up the road and see why it was closed.

I found out what the excavator was doing, yesterday!

It patched a section of road that had been washed out completely, at a culvert that drains into our quarter section. As you can see, the patch is already starting to wash out!

I didn’t try to walk any further (I’d already walked about 2 1/2 miles by then), but looking further down the road, I thought I could see another area that was washed out, maybe a quarter mile up the road. I’m thinking at, or near, the municipal drainage ditch.

Just look how far that new gravel has been washed down!

This culvert is not part of the municipal drainage ditch system. I believe it’s been here since before my parents acquired the farm. I remember playing in the culvert when I was a kid and, from what I can see of it, I think it’s still the same culvert, and hasn’t been upgraded or anything like that. No need to fix what ain’t broke!

Not far beyond the fence line is an area that I remember being just a really rough spot across the low area. There is water flowing here only during spring melt, or in excessively wet years. When the cows walked through it, their hooves would sink into the mud, squishing the soil into hills and holes. At some point while I was living in other provinces, a pair of narrow culverts were buried here, to create a sort of low driving lane. The washed out gravel is actually starting to go over this “lane”, and you can see just beyond it, where water is flowing through the small culverts. This seasonal “creek” continues on to the field the renter has been growing corn in the past two years, and eventually connects with the municipal drainage ditch. Which means that this water is contributing to the flooding that has washed out the other road.

On the way back, I freed up the gate from the remaining snow on it, and make it look like it’s fixed. 😀

It’s actually being held up by a single barb on the lower strand of barbed wire. We’ll have to come back with tools to fix it properly. For now, it’ll likely come down again with a stiff breeze! 😀 What I should probably do is find a post to wrap the wire mesh around, then affix it to the gate post in a way that’s more flexible. Maybe even add hinges. We’ll see.

On the list of things we want to do is extend the main driveway all the way to this secondary driveway with gravel. It came in handy the first time we found our gate’s lock glued shut, and we had to go out this way to get to town – and buy bolt cutters! Once we get past the collapsing log building in the inner yard, it gets very bumpy. At some point, someone had driven through when it was muddy, leaving deep ruts all over an area of it. We’ve tried to keep at least a lane mowed, so we can see where we can drive through without hitting rocks, or who knows what else that’s hidden in the grass and thatch.

When I have the chance, I want to make my way through the fence around the outer yard and check the gravel pit that the renter dug out last year. It should be very full of water, right now!

After checking out the road conditions, I also checked out newly accessible parts of the inner yard and found some things that got me very excited – but that will be for my next post! 😀

The Re-Farmer