Morning discoveries

Sunday is normally our day of rest, though of course work still needs to be done. Today, however, is going to be more of a day of rest than I’d hoped. We had rain overnight, and everything is still wet, so finishing the mowing is out. We’re also still getting all sorts of weather warnings, from severe thunderstorms to high water levels from rain falling elsewhere. At least we’re not getting tornado warnings in our area.

The garden, at least, if finally seeing some grown spurts. I’m most happy to see how this bed is doing.

That Kulli corn has been staying small for so long, I was starting to be concerned, but it is finally kicking in. I hope the beans planted with them are helping!

Hungry kittens are brave kittens! Nice to see them actually inside the kibble house, instead of hiding under the cat house.

There was an unexpected harvest this morning. Just a tiny one.

I checked on the wild strawberry patch, and could actually see the red berries from a distance!

The berries are so tiny, they are hard to pick! Many were already over ripe, but there are still lots of under ripe ones. This is the most we’ve seen since we found the patch while cleaning out the maple grove.

At some point, I would like to prepare a bed for them and transplant as many as I can, so they’re not fighting with grass and weeds to grow.

While moving things over to the burn barrel, I found another surprise in the branch pile.

One of the other litters of kittens has emerged! I had no idea there was another litter of kittens in this branch pile. Definitely the largest litter we’ve seen, too. There are six of them.

So adorable!

The cats are going to miss this pile of branches when we finally get it chipped!

We got another, far less pleasant surprise.

Our first spring here, one of the things that suddenly gave out was the drain on one side of the kitchen sink.

Well, the other side has finally given out, too. I heard some dripping a couple of days ago and asked my daughters to check it for me, as I can’t get under to look properly. My younger daughter found where it was leaking. When examining it from below, she was actually able to push the whole thing upwards!

So today, I’ll be making a trip to the hardware store to get the kit to replace it all. They open in about half an hour, so I’ll be heading out soon. At least we know, since we’ve already had it happen before, what we need to fix it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Too wet, and a nice surprise

This morning, it looked like I’d be getting more of a day of rest than I wanted. I hoped to at least do some weed trimming. It rained last night again, however, and… well…

There’s just too much water. The vehicle gate into the yard is usually the first place to have water, but there’s enough that it’s backing up into the path along this garden bed. For the water to be high enough to do that, it means all behind the garage and in front of the outhouse is water. It’s also pooling in front of the low raised beds where the old wood pile used to be, though the newly transplanted ground cherries seem to be okay; the mulch seems to be absorbing the moisture and keeping them from being in a pool of water. The grass is getting so tall, most of the water is hidden, but we’ve got open water all over the inner yard. Mowing is just not going to be an option. The weed trimming I intended to do around the squash transplants isn’t going to happen. That lilac by the storage house has a pool of water under it again. Even the spirea on the opposite corner has water under them. The grapes are above the water level, at least. Checking the trellises and the trees, it looks like we lost at least 1 luffa to the wet. Interestingly, the sliver buffalo berry is handling it just fine. Even the saplings that are in pools of water are have leaf buds opening.

The mosquitoes weren’t too bad, thanks to the wind, so I was able to check the Korean Pine without being eaten alive.

I found a surprise next to one of them.

All the white flowers in this photo?

Strawberries. We’ve got a whole big patch of strawberries growing here!

In previous years, when I was able to keep a lane to the back gate mowed, this area had Black Eyed Susan, a local wildflower, growing here. I’d even see patched of daisies. But never strawberries! To suddenly see so many makes me quite happy.

Once back inside, I hoped to be able to take things a big easy, since working outside wasn’t much of an option, but of course, that didn’t happen.

My mother phoned. She’d gotten the call about the sleep test the doctor wrote her up for, but she’d forgotten about it. Thankfully, she told them she’d talked to me about whether she should do it at all first, rather than just telling them she didn’t need the test. She gave me the number and I called them back. It turns out they can send the test machine directly to my mother, and that was looing good – until it came to how it’s paid for. They take payment by credit card, and don’t send the machine out until the payment is made. My mother doesn’t have a credit card. Neither do I. There is still the option of picking it up and paying for it in person, but they need 2 days notice, so that the machine will be ready and waiting for pick up. Which I could do, but I emailed my brother first, just in case. He has a credit card and might be able to get that done and my mother can pay him back later. Whatever we work out, we’ll call them back about it.

Then I read another email from my he’s sent earlier. It was about the beg bug treatment schedule, including a date. I had no idea there was a date – and it’s the same day someone is supposed to be coming out to see my mother for a home care assessment.

So I called my mother back, updated her on the sleep test thing, then talked to her about the bed bug date. She needed to call my sister to make arrangements to stay there for a couple of nights, so that she won’t be exposed to the spray. She said others in her building just stay in the lobby, but I reminded her, she can’t do that, because of her health issues. She finally understood. So while she called my sister to make the arrangements, I had to find a number to call about changing the home care assessment appointment. The problem is, there is no public number directly to the home care department. Even with the guy that called me, the call display showed “private caller”, so there’s no number there. I tried calling the clinic to do it through them, but they must be really busy, because no one was answering the phone. Finally, I found a central number for our health region and left a message – the call went straight to voice mail – and left a message.

So now I’m basically keeping a handset handy and waiting to hear back.

I really dislike talking on the phone. 😀 Ah, well.

So I guess things being too wet to get work done outside is a bonus for today.

I’d really rather be outside, fighting mosquitoes while mowing the lawn, than waiting for more phone calls, to be honest!

The Re-Farmer

Uncovering things

We’ve had high winds for the past while, and my morning rounds have increasingly included picking up dead branches that have been knocked down. This morning, I found that the winds managed to uncover part of the garden soil pile in the outer yard.

Revealing a whole lot of lambs quarters and other weeds, thriving under the white tarp!

I pulled all these out, then moved the tarp to get at other areas and pulled more. The pile has been covered up again, but there are still sections we haven’t got to, yet, that I’m sure are covered with more of these! We’ll need to try and get at them, before the weeds go to seed.

Speaking of weeding…

One of the areas I check in the mornings is our little patch of while strawberries in the maple grove. It’s overrun with other plants, but the strawberry plants are so delicate, weeding is a very careful affair.

I did, however, uncover some strawberries that are forming!

The berry in the photo above is smaller than my pinky fingernail.

At some point, these will be transplanted to a spot just for them, but that might not happen for a couple more years, yet. Wild strawberries don’t handle transplanting well, so I’m not in any hurry about it, and want to make sure they have a really good bed set up for them, first. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Let’s think of flowers and warmth!

After the damage to our tulips, plus our dropping temperatures, I thought it would be nice to post pictures of things that are actually blooming right now!

The ornamental apples in the old kitchen garden are blooming quite nicely right now! They always tend to start blooming before any of the other crab apple trees.

The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden are also starting to open up, quite a bit earlier than the other varieties. They all seem to bloom at different times, which leaves us with months of lovely scents around the yard.

Late this afternoon, one of my daughters and I headed to town for some errands and, as we came back and paused to lock the gate, I remembered to grab one of the trail cams facing the gate. It is now set up, low on a tree across from where the tulips are planted. Hopefully, low enough that even a short critter like a skunk will trigger the motion sensor.

The girls and I later went out to check on things and talk about our options. Of course, we also checked on other areas and were very excited to see some purple in a sea of green!

The flower stalks on the grape hyacinths have started to shoot up! They are all so very tiny! 😀 One of my daughters was kind enough to carefully step through the greenery to get a picture of one for me. Meanwhile, my other daughter spotted some more flowers.

The little patch of wild strawberries is starting to bloom, too!

Thankfully, everything we’ve got growing right now is quite hardy. As I write this, we are at 2C/36F, but feels like -5C/23F. Or -7C/19F. depending on which app I look at. My desktop app is showing frost advisories and possible snow tonight. My phone’s app thinks we are warmer, and is showing no frost warnings. Either way, it’s cold, wet and windy out there. Chilly enough that I just finished setting up the heater bulb in the sun room again, under the seed trays in the mini greenhouse. I’m still holding out home for the purple sunflowers and gourds.

This chill is supposed to continue through tomorrow, before things start warming up again. Current long range forecasts now show that the first couple of days of June – which is our average last frost date – are supposed to get as high as 27C/81F again! After that, it’s supposed to cool down a couple of degrees, but we’re supposed to get almost a week of rain. If the forecast stays the same, we’ll have about 4 hot days to put our transplants out. We haven’t been able to take the trays outside every day to harden them off, so I’m really hoping that leaving the inner door to the sun room open, and the ceiling fan running on high, will be enough to provide them with the conditions they need.

We shall see how things turn out!

The Re-Farmer

I got dirt!

Oy, what a day today has been!

Of course, the best part was getting the garden soil in. I figured I’d call and it would be brought in after a few days or something. I never imagined they’d be able to bring it so quickly!

We now have a load both in the outer yard, and by the old garden area, near where we were be doing most of our gardening this year.

It’s absolutely gorgeous soil! I’m so incredibly happy with it!

I want more.


In truth, we probably will end up using both piles up this year. We will be using it judiciously, but once a load was no longer in the truck, it suddenly looked very small! 😀 We were already expecting to finish on one load and use at least part of the second, so this is not too unexpected. For the price we got it for, we will be able to get more if we need to, when the permanent raised beds are built.

Just a little while ago, my daughters and I scrounged around in the barn and found a tarp that could mostly cover the nearby pile. Then we brought over some of the old tires that were stacked behind the pump shack after I cleaned up there and fixed a window. May as well get some use out of them! There’s also a rock pile with some trees growing out of it, nearby, so we grabbed some of those. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to keep the tarp from blowing away – and the tarp will keep most of the soil from blowing away! We’ll cover the other pile, too, but not tonight.

Along with the soil delivery and the septic tank getting cleaned, we kept getting phone calls. One was from the place I’d bought our baby chainsaw from. The spare battery I’d ordered had come in! Which was a very pleasant surprise, all things considered. I was fully prepared for it to take weeks, or even months, before it came in.

Then we got an odd call from the tax preparer. We’d dropped off my older daughter’s papers. We did TurboTax last year, but they are so messed up this year, we just gave up. My daughter does her transactions through PayPal, and the Excel spreadsheet she downloaded from there was not something that could be printed out and make any sense, so I put it on a memory card and included it.

The tax preparer had no idea what it was. Her computer doesn’t have a port for it. That never even occurred to me!

So we were going to put it on a thumb drive and bring it over, but my daughter went back to her PayPal to try and find something that made more sense. She ended up finding a sales summary that we could print out. So my younger daughter and I headed out to run some errands and I swung by to drop off the printouts.

I ended up talking to the tax preparer, who seemed totally lost. She had a hard time understanding that everything my daughter does is digital and online. She took some notes and said she would call if they had any more questions.

By the time we got to our next errand, we got a text that the tax preparer had called and left and exasperated sounding message, but no details.

I don’t get it. This should be a very simple return.


We’ll call them back tomorrow.

We ran the rest of our errands in town, including picking up the spare battery – it’s a good thing we had to drive by the place because I almost forgot! – then paid for the garden soil on the way home.

After we got home, my older daughter was finished work for the day, so we went outside and ended up covering the one pile of soil. My younger daughter has already started to move soil over to the old kitchen garden! 😀 This is one of the areas we can start adding soil to right way, as we’ve already been building it up for the past couple of summers.

The chives we transplanted into two of the old chimney blocks making up the retaining wall are coming up quite strongly. Which is nice, because they’d been pretty spindly, before. Prolific, but not a lot of substance! The rest of these blocks, where we had planted cucamelons, were topped up with soil last fall, so they’re already good. 🙂

Along the south edge of this garden, my daughter planted bulbs, and it looks like one or two of her irises has emerged! It’s hard to tell with one of them, they’re so small, still. We also found more garlic sprouts, and my daughter found more snow crocuses. Everything is so tiny, but it’s still very exciting to see them coming up.

While checking the areas we planted all the grape hyacinth and snow crocuses, we can also check out the wild strawberries.

They have been visible through their leaf mulch for a while. Such tiny, delicate things, yet very hardy! They get quickly overgrown with wildflowers, so the plan it to transplant them as soon as we can.

It was good to get all these big things done, but I usually like to have them more spread out, not all in one day! 😀 The one thing that didn’t get done, was taking my husband to the lab for some blood work. He’s been in too much pain to go to the clinic, so late last week, I asked and they faxed the requisition to the lab that’s closer. With so many things going on, we’ll just do it tomorrow. It’s already a few months late. One more day isn’t going to make a difference! 🙂

For now, I think it’s time for a nice pot of tea, while I daydream about dirt, and plan all the things we’ll be doing with it!

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Oh, what a day. Already

Today started off very well, so I’ll start with that, too!

I’m happy to say that the new bed has made a huge difference. There must be something about no longer being so close to the floor, because I slept like a rock – for almost 11 hours!

Which meant I got a late start to doing my morning routine.

The kittens were in fine form this morning!

They found perfectly kitten sized places to hang out, about it all!

These little nooks exist only because the area under the entryway was walled off to make the root cellar. The ceiling there is slightly lower than the rest of the basement, so the top ledge there is actually level with the entryway floor, while below is the root cellar wall.

The upstairs cats wanted to play, too.

In the one photo, you can see David’s nose – and the glowing eye of another cat!

I’m going to have to delay doing the kitten stuff until there are others available to come down at the same time. Saffron and Turmeric got upstairs before I could close the door, while David, Cheddar and Two Face made it downstairs. While wrestling her kittens downstairs, Beep Beep went up and stayed there. I only saw three kittens, though, so I started looking around for Leyendecker and Big Rig. I realized Leyendecker had also snuck upstairs, when I saw tiny little black and white paws going past – right about where you can see David’s nose in the above photos. 😀 So I got him down, but I still couldn’t find Big Rig. I feared she may have gotten into the old part basement, but after some searching, my daughter found her curled up asleep, under the bed frame. The box my husband’s computer came in had a cardboard divided that fits under there perfectly, and they use it to sleep in. I’d pulled it out, but apparently not enough, and never saw her. I felt no weight, and didn’t think to pull it out all the way! It was a relief to find her. Once we managed to get the adult cats out, we were able to treat the babies with some wet cat food, then persuade Beep Beep to come down again.

Once outside, I was joined by Creamsicle and Butterscotch.

Lots of things are blooming now.

More wild roses are blooming now.

I also checked on, and counted, the sunflowers.

I counted 30 this morning, with some having just broken ground. We also lost more; in one spot where I was sure there was a seedling growing, I checked more closely, and found the remains of a stem. 😦

I was very happy to find this. Last year, I spotted two little bunches of red berries on this bush. Using the magic of the internet, it turns out to be a cranberry bush.

It was not planted there deliberately.

This is another of the things that are getting more light, after I cleared away trees from the fence line. Last year, that resulted in this bush having just a few berries. This year, it is covered with clusters like this! I am thrilled to see them!

These are tiny wild strawberries growing at the base of a dead tree in the maple grove. We need to be weeded with great care, as the other growth is so close, it’s hard to pull them up, without also pulling up the strawberries.

This will require a lot of time set aside (after being liberally covered in bug spray) for delicate weeding. At some point, I’d like to transplant them to a better location, but transplant wild strawberries is another delicate thing!

I don’t know what these flowers are, but I really like them! Near them are some lilies that are full of buds.

The hawthorn my mother planted as a “living fence” bloomed so fast, I missed it! Berries are starting to form now.

I’ve read that hawthorn berries are edible. We might try something with them, one of these days.

My mother’s white roses and double lilacs planted near the old kitchen and sun room as looking good. The lilacs are almost done their blooming time, but the roses are just covered with buds!

After making sure it was okay with my mother first, checking to make sure there was nothing she wanted saved, I completely covered and mulched the old kitchen garden, two years ago. You can see what it was like when we started here (back when I thought the ornamental apple trees were cherry trees, because that’s where the original cherry tree had been planted, years before). As I cleaned up, you can see in this post, just how much the above flower had spread all over. I got it to the point where I could lay down a layer of cardboard, and finally cover it all in mulch. The idea was to basically kill off what was already growing there (especially the invasive vines we were finding all over the place!), and eventually use the space to grow vegetables and herbs that we use most.

After I finished all that, my mother suddenly started talking about some blue flowers that were there that she wanted me to keep, because they reminded her of flower that grew in Poland, when she was a child. I reminded her that she’d given me the okay to get rid of everything! Still, some things have worked their way through the mulch, including her little blue flowers, so she was happy to see them and asked me to save some. Which I can do. 🙂

After I’d finished my rounds, I called my mother, then went to help her do a grocery shopping trip. That went quite well, and I was happy to be able to help her stock up on the bigger items she would normally have to pay to get delivered.

It was when I got home that things started to go wrong.

I had just driven through the gate and stopped the van so I could close it again, when I saw someone in my rear view mirror.

It was our vandal.

He’d seen me go by and came over.

He then proceeded to yell verbal abuse at me – all while recording me closing and locking the gate – from where he stood. I just ignored him while taking care of the gate, and he eventually just walked away, but he was yelling loud enough that the girls came out to see what was going on.

Based on past experience, from long before we moved out here, I knew I had to sit down and write down exactly what happened to record it. While I was in the middle of that, I got a call from my brother. It seems our vandal went straight from hurling verbal abuse at me, to calling my brother – who was at work – and verbally abusing him. There were things he said to both of us, though, that got us wondering about a triggering event. Once I had the chance, I called my mother.

Sure enough, it went back to her. He had left another abusive message on her answering machine, and she made the mistake of calling him back. She’d left a message, basically asking what he wanted from her, and they ended up speaking in person. He told her that he wanted to sell the farm and split up the money, part of which he believes he is entitled to. The farm, however, is supposed to stay in the family name, and that’s why she transferred the ownership to my brother. We had been trying to keep that quiet, but it’s public knowledge now. We have the same arrangement with my brother that we had with my mother. We are taking care of the place for him. So now we know, by his own words, that our vandal was pressuring my parents to change their wills for years, just so he could sell the farm to line his pockets.

This revelation explains why he started showing up recently on the trail cams, giving us the finger. He thinks something has been taken from him. I’m still a target, since we live here, and he believes the things that are here belong to him. Of course, he’s got his own place, so there is no reason anything of his should be here. He’s also the reason so many things disappeared over the years, and especially while the place was empty for 2 years.

Now that he knows about the transfer of ownership, it’s hard to say how he will continue his harassment. At least when it came to ownership of the farm, there was some predictability. Now that he knows the farm belongs to my brother, not my mother, he’s going to be coming up with something new. The only thing we can be sure of, is that he won’t stop. He’s become obsessed with this place, and my family living here.


Ah, well. It’s still better than what we left behind by moving here. We just have to worry about one crazy person, now. :-/

The Re-Farmer


While doing my rounds this morning, I found some of my mother’s wild flowers suddenly blooming.

I remember seeing this splash of red in one area, last year. Now that I’ve cleared around it, I can actually get to them. Every time I walked past the area, I would look and wonder which of the plants had those bright red flowers. Yesterday, I didn’t even notice flower buds on these, yet this morning, they’re blooming!

The buds for these flowers have been visible for some time, but this is the first one to really start opening up. They are all over the area. I don’t know when my mother planted here, but they’ve been seeding themselves and spreading on their own, ever since. 🙂

While going through the maple grove, I checked on the wild strawberries.

I found 4 ripe berries. 😀

They are so incredibly tiny!

The teeniest of strawberries. 😀


The Re-Farmer

Things that are, and are not

It’s been quite interesting, as I work around the yard, in areas I worked on last year, and seeing the differences.

One of the differences is, I am seeing all sorts of things popping up, in areas that used to be choked with years of dead grass, fallen branches and garbage, or hidden away by low hanging branches.

While mowing past the north side of the spruce grove, where I am now able to mow right up to the tree line, I was observing some of the wild roses I’d pruned down, but didn’t pull their roots, coming back up. For the most part, I will be leaving those. I also passed what looked for all the world like carrots, growing in the moss!

This is the largest of several I could see. I came back later and poked around the base, just to be sure.

No, they are not carrots.

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