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A quick update: C and friends caught both salmon and lake trout on their Wednesday expedition. I cooked the trout and froze the salmon fillet. It was not big enough for C to bother with the smoker, but sufficient for a good meal for four. We'll invite friends over to enjoy it with us.
Early this spring, something had dug a sort of smooth path through my new shade bed. I puzzled over it for a long time, but couldn't imagine what it could have been. This evening I found a fairly large hole dug in a different spot in that bed. At first I wondered about a groundhog, but it wasn't really a burrow - just a hole. I weeded that bed for a while before joining C in the vegetable garden. As I headed towards the veggie garden, I spied the culprit - a great big porcupine that was making its way towards the back of our property . I wish I'd had my camera with me. He was quite a handsome dude: black face and tail, grey body. Porkies always amuse me as they waddle along. This one was making pretty good time.
Thanks goodness our dogs were safely inside the barn. None of them has the good sense to give porkies a wide berth. I've had lots of experience removing quills.
I also got to see something else I have never seen at the farm before: a couple of goldfinches. What pretty little creatures!
It was another hot day here, so I didn't venture down to our farm till after dinner. I finally planted the glad bulbs I'm hoping will bloom in time for our fall fair. My multitude of gladiolus bulblets have sprouted leaves. Most are about 6" tall. I should have lots of viable bulbs to share this fall. Except for replanting our failed carrot crop, I won't be putting anything more into the garden this year.
On my arrival at the farm, I found a whole flock of barn swallows perched on my tomato cages (and pooping on my tomato plants, of course. I guess a little extra natural fertilizer won't hurt them.) Wonder of wonders! Not one of them dive-bombed me. In fact, they pretty much ignored me unless I got too close and then they simply flew off for a while. Maybe they were too hot, but more likely they were waiting for the mosquito population to appear.
Another wonder! C tilled the garden unattended and I didn't find anything uprooted except weeds. This is my lucky day! Tomorrow C's going fishing for salmon on Lake Ontario with a group of friends. He hasn't been very successful at catching salmon for several years. I hope he has good luck tomorrow. If so, he'll put big chunks into the smoker. He makes an awful mess with the marinade, but the final product is worth the clean-up.
I'll keep you posted. Happy gardening.
C came home with several nice pickerel (walleye) from his fishing trip. What a treat!
It's very warm here today - upwards of 80 degrees. I know that's relatively mild to some of you southerners, but the sudden change in the weather from cool and wet to very warm makes it seem even warmer. I don't think I had a single mosquito bite today, but the horseflies were out in droves. I think the change in the weather made them less alert than usual, because I was able to smack three of them - after they bit me, of course.
We went to the farm and discovered that our cukes are up. Now if I can only keep those darned beetles at bay. Ontario has strict new laws about pesticides and herbicides, so I can no longer buy Sevin or malathion. There are a couple of pumpkins up, and a few buttercup squash, but no sign of my gourds yet. C ate the first strawberry from our newly planted patch. We had to till up the old patch last fall. The weeds had taken over. I'll have to wait till next year to get any quantity. We've always had more strawberries than we could eat ourselves, so I resent having to buy them, but C and a couple of my sons-in-law plus a lot of grandkids can't be deprived of home made strawberry jam. Pears are beginning to form on one of our trees. The other tree, which is a year older (12) has never borne fruit. I'm guessing it's because it takes the brunt of the wind and the blossoms get blown off, but that's just my best guess. Most of our spuds are up and so far we've only found three potato bugs. They're sneaky little devils, though. We have to watch carefully. C squishes them, but I'm too squeamish unless I have gloves on. I drown them in a bucket of water. We're going to have to replant carrots. For the first time in 12 years, the soil *sandy loam) was too wet for the initial planting.
I spent most of the afternoon tidying up my shade bed and another area adjacent to our shed. I turned the soil in that area last year so C wouldn't have to go at it with the whipper snipper. I put in a few perennials, but for the most part I intend to fill it with self-seeding plants: hollyhocks (or outhouse plants, as my mom calls them), bachelor buttons, forget-me-nots, etc. There's still a lot of weed seed in that bed, especially stinging nettle, so my hands are sore this evening. I was too impatient to put gloves on. DUH!! I was happy to note that plantain leaves crushed and rubbed on the affected area provide relief from the stinging, thanks to LynnChristo's blog.
While I was working on my shade bed, I came across a large paw print - way too large to be that of most dogs, but not as large as a bear print. Besides we don't have bears in this area, anyway. I showed it to C who was as puzzled as I was. We considered and rejected coyotes. The print was too large. As I worked my way along the bed, I came upon a second print - a little larger than the first and not as well defined. After working away all afternoon and upon closer inspection, the answer finally dawned on me! I'm pretty sure it's a grandchild print! If you remember, I created that bed using the lasagna method. The soil's still very light and spongy. so a child's foot would sink down into it and expand in size. I expect my step-son took his brood to the farm to let off some steam, and in their exuberance, one of them ran into my garden. I also expect that the little rascal got yelled at - hence, only two footprints.
I'm so glad I found this site - great members and great solutions ! ! ! Take care, all.
I haven't done much gardening over the past week because of rain, rain and more rain. The forecast, though, is for almost two full weeks of sunny weather. I'll probably lament the lack of rain if that comes to pass. You just can't please some people!
My huge poppy is in bloom, with lots more buds ready to open. I think I counted thirty buds in all.
It's been nice here for the past couple of days, but except for a bit of weeding, I haven't done much in my gardens.
A friend who's undergoing interferon treatment following the removal of a wart on the back of her calf stopped by on Monday. The treatments that began in December are taking a toll on her. She's gradually losing her once luxurious hair, and is mourning its loss. She's also suffering from a bit of depression. No wonder! In December she had to travel (an hour and a half one way) to a hospital for treatment five days a week. Since then she's had to self-inject three times each week. We both know it's necessary and beneficial in the long run, but it must be very trying while she's going through it, and she still has five more months of injections to go. She wants some of her hostas split, so I'll do that for her when she's having one of her good days and can direct me to them. She thought she'd be feeling good yesterday, so I didn't stray far from the phone in case she called, but she didn't. Nor did she call today.
C is heading up to northern Ontario tomorrow for four days' fishing with one of his buddies, so I baked a big batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, a blueberry pie and a raisin pie for him to take along. I have to admit that I'm a very messy baker. By the time I've finished, the counter, the floor, my clothing and my face are covered with flour. Because I make such a mess, I try to do a lot of baking at one time. My pastry recipe makes several shells. Today I made a deep dish rhubarb meringue pie for tonight's meal and froze five shells for future use. (I don't know what I'll do with the remainder of the rhubarb pie. Rhubarb tends to make its way through my system fairly rapidly and I'm not much on deserts anyway. C won't be here to eat it up. I'll have to give it to a friend with more tolerance for rhubarb than I have.) By the time I got my kitchen back in order, it was time to start dinner. Now it's raining. RATS!! I've wasted two perfectly beautiful gardening days.
Jeepers! What a grump! I should be grateful that I'm healthy instead of complaining about not playing in the dirt!
I've been thinking about the gathering at Carolyn's. I'm sure some of her guests must have started their journey already. I hope Mother Nature's kind to them and they can enjoy fine weather along with good company.
Take care, all.
Today was one of those gorgeous days that make me feel happy just to exist on this planet - sunny and warm with billowing cumulus clouds overhead. I need to remember to start wearing a hat and/or sunscreen.
It's a good thing the weather put me in a good mood, because C is pushing his luck again. I spent the morning tidying my house while he headed for the farm. By the time I got there, he had gotten too close to my sunflowers with the tiller and planted four more rows of potatoes from some of the small ones we had remaining from last year's crop. That makes eighteen 40' rows of potatoes, folks! What in heck are two old people going to do with that many potatoes?? I'm going to have to sneak pails full of them into the back seats of my friends' vehicles when they're not looking! There are still five 5-gallon pails full in my cold cellar. I had asked C to bury them under the compost heap.
As well, he decided that we don't have enough carrots and beets in the ground. I still have seed for both, but had decided that two rows of beets and three of carrots were sufficient. Oh no! He secretly bought more seed and in went another row of beets and two more of carrots. At harvest time, C expects me to distribute them all over town - particularly to the widows of some of his deceased friends. That's a pleasant pastime because I get to visit, but it's also the time when I need to be in my kitchen canning and freezing produce for our own consumption. It's a good thing I love the man, or I'd compost HIM!
I planted cleome, asters, zinnias, and celosia in my cutting bed. I know it's late, but the soil has been cold and damp up till now. I've never planted annuals from seed before, so this is a learning process. Wish me luck.
I spent some time edging more of my shade bed, but forgot to take my camera with me. Will try to remember tomorrow. I also planned on taking a photo of some of my favourite imperial irises. I also have violet ones, pale yellow ones and a Japanese variety, but nothing can hold a candle to imperials in my books. My oriental poppies are getting ready to bloom. I hope I can find a nice day to photograph them when they do. I consider poppies and peonies to be the tarts of my garden - a little over the top - like Dolly Parton - absolutely gorgeous despite their short shelf-life.
Enough gardening talk. Back to mundane chores. I need to start a load of laundry. Take care, everyone, and happy gardening.
Now that I'm back on line, I'd better try to record what's been happening in my absence. I hope to use my blog as a guide next year. Hopefully, it'll remind me of successes and failures so that I can repeat the good stuff and avoid the problems.
First of all, I got my gladiolus bulblets planted a week ago yesterday. I haven't seen any sign of them sprouting yet, although several of the parent bulbs planted the previous day are already through the ground. I'm anxious to put my new bulbs in, but I'd better wait till later this week in the hope that they'll be ready for our fall fair.
I didn't go to the farm for a week. Last weekend was really nice, but we went to visit with C's family. His son-in-law's children from a previous marriage hosted a barbecue to celebrate their dad's 50th birthday. It was a lot of fun and I got to see my mother-in-law for the first time in a couple of months. She's a wonderful woman. I'm so fortunate to have her in my life. After that, we got rain, rain and more rain.
Today was warmer than it's been for a while, albeit overcast. C tilled up the bottom of our garden without incident, (No plants damaged because he was far away from those that are beginning to show.) and I planted cucumbers, gourds and squash. That's it for seeding this year. Now comes the weeding and freezing and canning.
Our potatoes are coming up nicely. No bugs yet, thank goodness. C says, 'No more wide row planting!' He finds it too difficult to distinguish weeds from veggies, but I spent some time cleaning the peas and beets up and he feels a little better about it now. The tomatoes I started at home are amazing - tall and strong - some in blossom already. I'll have to remove the home-made cloches this week and replace them with cages, but I want to mulch heavily with straw first. Those that I bought at the nursery are coming along more slowly, but I'm sure they'll catch up soon. There's no sign of my carrots yet. I'm annoyed with myself, because I generally plant a few radishes in the carrot rows so I can see where they'll be and keep them free of weeds, but I forgot to do that this year. I almost forgot to plant radishes with my cukes, too, but fortunately C reminded me.
One row of sunflowers I planted a week ago are already an inch or so high. The volunteers I transplanted are almost a foot high.
After I finished with the veggie garden, I spent some time weeding my new shade bed. I'm delighted with its progress. Will try to take and post some photos tomorrow.
I want to plant some cleome and other annuals in my cutting bed tomorrow. I wish I'd gotten them in earlier, but the rain and cool weather has kept me away more than I'd like. Hopefully, they'll come along quickly.
Take care, everyone, and happy gardening.
Hi, everyone -
I feel as though I've been absent for a month. Can't believe it's been only eight days. I felt bereft without my GG friends. My computer, which is just a little over two years old, has been misbehaving for a while. I lost a file fragment from my operating system. It was really more of an annoyance with some applications. Otherwise, it performed well. I ought to have had Vista re-installed months ago, but I kept putting it off because I hate being without my computer. We do have public access computers at our local library, which is only two blocks from my house, but it's just not the same. Anyway, my monitor began turning itself off every two seconds. Bright me!! I thought it had to do with the lost file fragment, so I took my tower to the techie who used to work for me when I was with the police service. He's a brilliant kid, but has gone on to another line of work and repairs computers in his spare time. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a lot of spare time, so it generally takes a long time before I get my computer back.
I was so happy when my techie friend, who lives in the next town, called to say I could pick it up after 6:30 this evening. We ate early and I headed out to pick it up. Now, my computer desk is in a small alcove off my bedroom, along with a file cabinet and a bookcase. It's a large, beautiful desk my family bought for me as a retirement gift. It has a special niche for my tower, along with all sorts of other wonderful features. The only problem is that I have to pull it away from the wall and get down on my hands and knees to reattach all the cables. Needless to say, I don't allow anyone in the room with me while my big fat backside is sticking out from behind the desk. This evening, however, my sister called while I was in that position and C brought the phone to me. Not a pretty sight!!
After fiddling around for quite a while, I finally got everything hooked back up and got up off the floor to hit the ON switch. The darned thing didn't come on. Back to the drawing board - down on my hands and knees again. Found the problem. I hadn't plugged the power cord in. Duh!! Okay! So I get back on my feet and turn the computer on. It works!! ............ For a second!! The monitor goes black again. Down on my hands and knees again to ensure its cable is firmly plugged into the back of the computer. It is. I called the 24-hour help line only to learn (a) a component within my monitor was failing and (b) the warrantee on said monitor had expired in March. RATS!!
It's now 8:00 p.m. Back to town I go to buy a new monitor. Back home I come, monitor in hand. Down on the floor I get to disconnect faulty monitor. Up I get to place new monitor on desk and back down I go to attach cables. Back up to turn computer on once more. Success at last!! I'd better not have any more problems for a long time or I definitely won't be a nice person to live with!!
As I drove over the knoll at our farm this afternoon, I witnessed an interesting squabble between two turkey vultures and a pair of crows. One vulture was eating something on the ground that I later learned was a Canada goose egg. A pair of crows were attempting to get a share of the egg. The other vulture was 'making lazy circles in the sky'. Now, I like all of these birds. Although the vultures aren't pretty close up, they are a feast for the eyes as they soar overhead. And they serve a useful purpose - scavanging dead animals. The geese can be a nuisance, gobbling up freshly planted seed and pooping everywhere, but they make a pretty picture in spring as they nest in a slough fairly close to my veggie patch. The raucous old crows are noisy and cheeky - sometimes acting like clowns. But the very best thing about all of these birds is that they either totally ignore me or take flight when I get too close. None of them make a target of my head.
Returning to this afternoon's nonsense: eventually the second vulture joined the first and they peacefully began to share the egg. The crows kept attempting to get a nibble, whereupon one vulture or the other would give the offender a powerful smack with its wing. I sat in the van for about five minutes watching their nonsense in amusement. Finally, both pairs flew off in opposite directions.
After that I planted six dozen gladiolus bulbs, saved from last year's planting. I hadn't pre-peeled them, so it took more than an hour. When I finish blogging, I'll clean and select the largest of the bulblets for planting tomorrow. Next year I'll have lots of viable bulbs to share with family and friends. All of the bulbs and bulblets are second and third generations of a dozen bulbs I bought a couple of years ago. They're not spectacular glads - pale violet conventional ones, but they grow strong, straight and tall and have garnered me first prize at out local fall fair. I have a dozen white bulbs and a dozen 'Victor Borge' bulbs that I'll plant later. Hopefully, one variety or the other will bloom in early September so I can enter them in this year's fair.
I made C help me plant six hills of pumpkins - not a difficult task at all, but he always complains that I plant them too close together. So this year, he won't be able to grumble about that. If they're too close together, it's all his doing. And to be truthful, I think he planted them about the same distance apart that I generally do. Time will tell. We're generally both frustrated because I buy seed that says 75 days to maturity, but many of ours are still green by Hallowe'en. I'm going to top and side dress the hills with compost to see if that will hurry them along.
Good night, all. I'm off to sort gladiolus bulblets.
Well, I had a most satisfactory visit with my new physician yesterday. Having a doctor who's younger than my eldest child is a bit disconcerting, but she seems more than competent and is definitely a sweet-natured little thing. I probably could have bullied her out of ordering a mammogram, had I tried. I haven't endured that particularly nasty form of torture for a very long time and I'm certainly not looking forward to the procedure, but I guess it's for my own good. She also ordered some blood work which I don't mind, and prescribed a topical therapy for my poor old knees. It was expensive, but seems to provide some relief. Apparently, the effects get better with time. I hope so. I hobble around like a 90-year old.
I didn't get my planter potted up yesterday, so I did that this morning before I went to the farm. This is the first time I've started flowers from seed. Usually I buy strong, healthy annuals from local nurseries. Mine look pretty spindly. I'm sure they'll fill in quickly, but I'm an impatient old woman.
I tidied up my holding bed. I don't know how I managed to double plant one row, but I corrected that by moving some clumps of irises to a different area. Then I moved more volunteer sunflowers into a second row and planted more seeds. It's strange how one's tastes change. There was a time when I thought sunflowers were coarse, ugly plants. Now my only problems with them are (a) that I need big heavy vases complete with rocks in the bottom to ensure they don't topple over; and (b) that they drop pollen like crazy, leaving a yellow mess on my tables. But I love their cheerful faces enough to bring them inside on a regular basis. I plan to plant some more tomorrow. They're great for attracting bees early on, and blue jays later. I also planted a row of calendulas for cutting later on. What curious seeds!
Speaking of birds, I must comment on their particular dislike of me. Kindly old ME, who never does harm to any of them! We have tons of resident barn swallows. Now, I admire and value those voracious little supersonic flyers, ( Their aerial acrobatics are a sight to behold and each one eats about 850 mosquitoes per day.) but do they return my affection? NOT!! They dive-bomb me on a regular basis, and I KNOW that this chubby old body doesn't resemble a mosquito in the least! Barn swallows are not alone in their aversion for me. My mom feeds hummingbirds all summer. Whenever I visit, one of my chores is to refill and rehang the feeders. You'd think those miniature helicopters would be grateful, but no. They, too, reward my generosity by using my head for target practice, swooping up and away at the last possible moment. The blue jays sit atop my sunflowers in the fall and scold me mercilessly while gorging on the seeds. Surely, they ought to be grateful that I plant their feast. Only our robins seem to have any regard for me at all, and then only when I've turned the soil and they've grabbed a hapless worm or two.
After I played with my flower plants and seeds, I turned my attention to the veggie bed again and got a row of wax beans and a row of Royal Burgundy beans planted before heading home. There's frost in the forecast tonight. Can't the weatherman read the calendar? It's June, for heaven's sake! I'll have to be up before the crack of dawn tomorrow to spray down some of my tender plants.
Enough ranting and raving for one evening! Happy gardening, everyone.
I'm so excited I can't wait till this evening to share my news! The first of the caladiums I potted up April 9th (I checked back on my blog to determine when I had done that.) poked its nose through the soil over night!! Almost two months, but it's finally here! I feel almost as good as I did when I gave birth to each of my girls! I tried caladiums once before, but eventually threw them out. I'm wondering now if I was simply too impatient and tossed them before they had a chance to emerge from the soil. I think they're the most glorious of the foliage plants. I'll be happy to display them outside if it ever warms up sufficiently. I had planned to put them into my flower beds, but now I'm thinking I'll put them into a container instead. That way, I can move them around till they get the right amount of shade.
A red letter day! One of my granddaughters is celebrating her 11th birthday.
I have to make an initial visit to my new doctor this afternoon. For several years after my last heart attack, I didn't have a primary care physician. We live in an under-serviced area and, for miles around, every doctor's roster was completely full. Then I found the perfect doctor for me - a former cardiology researcher who decided to become a family physician late in life and who practiced his art right here in our village. He is a year older than I am, which proved to be a detriment because the old rascal up and retired. Imagine that! At 70 years of age. He's got his nerve!
The provincial government has set up a service called Health Connect to try to find physicians for people living in under-serviced communities. It involved a bit of time and red tape, but I managed to register very recently. I received confirmation of my registration a week ago and spoke with a Health Connect representative who referred me to a female doctor in a town only a half hour drive away. I had to go there to fill out an application then wait till the group she practices with determined whether they'd accept me or not. Apparently I passed the test, whatever that may be. At any rate, her secretary called yesterday to set up an appointment for today. I'm feeling very fortunate.
After I attend to getting my garbage and recycling and composting material to the curb, I think I'll pot up a couple of containers. (No - not going to risk my caladiums yet - too cool.) I've got some asters or zinnias (I knew I should have marked those pots) and cosmos I started from seed ready to go. Even if I can't play in my garden, I can still play in the dirt today. YAHOO!!
Five whole days since my last entry! That's because I don't have much gardening news. We've had either high winds or rain or both since then. I WANT TO PLAY IN THE DIRT!!
Oh, well! At least I put my 'down time' to good use. I went at my van with a commercial vacuum cleaner and found that it was carpeted under an assortment of loose soil, empty pots, garden implements and just plain junk! During the process I discovered a novel I began to read last year and enough coins to make my wallet very heavy. Now, when I set out to drive, I have to double-check to make sure I'm in the right vehicle.
Then I tackled my basement, otherwise known as the dungeon. It was even worse than my van. Some people have lovely family rooms in their basements. Not this family! I'd like to say that the dungeon is strictly utilitarian, but that would be a gross over-statement, maybe even a big, fat lie. What it is, is a repository for our local library's Santa Claus parade float decorations including an artificial tree, stuff we're storing for one of my daughters, toys for the grandkids, all kinds of gardening stuff - pots, various ornaments, potting soil, stakes, etc., an assortment of tools and parts for C's business, some life-sized manequins for Hallowe'en, leftover bits and pieces from building our house (lumber, siding, nails, etc.), C's fishing equipment, a dog crate filled with stuff our dog, Clyde, had gathered up here and there - toys, bones and whatnot, two freezers, a washer, dryer and laundry sink, a washroom and a large furnace, among other things. It's been a long time since I did a thorough cleaning down there and I'm afraid I'm not 'a place for everything and everything in its place' sort of person. (Well, I seem to be 'a place for everything' kinda gal, but absolutely NOTHING had an appropriate place of its own. ) In fact, it was difficult to make my way from the bottom of the stairs to the door to the garage.
I've got a long way to go, but at least everything's sorted into some kind of logical order and the floor's been swept and scrubbed. I still need to get a lot of laundry done and scrub the bathroom. (I may get at that tomorrow. It's raining as I write, so another 'no gardening' day.) And, YES!! I can actually walk in a straight line from the stairs to the garage!! Wonders will never cease!
C had fun on his fishing trip and came home with some pickerel for tonight's dinner. I made potato pancakes and steamed some fresh asparagus to go with it. Mmm mmm mmm!
During one of the few breaks in the weather, I moved my Japanese painted fern down to the farm. I hope that wasn't a mistake. It was getting crowded out here, but the wind has taken its toll on it since I moved it. I've been especially proud of that fern. It was one of my 'foundlings' - an end-of-the-season bargain - broken and wilted when I bought it. It was very beautiful before I moved it. I can only hope that it will return to its normal, robust self when this darned wind finally decides to settle.