Posted on June 30th, 2011 No comments
I’ve been away for a few days so getting back meant getting caught up with the weeding, watering and mowing. We have a few events coming up and thus lots to do to get the yard looking the way we like to see it.
We’ve had precious little rain so far, although other parts of the province have had as much as 17 inches since March.
Posted on June 24th, 2011 No comments
Posted on June 23rd, 2011 No comments
Posted on June 20th, 2011 No comments
Completely weeded 1/2 of the field garden yesterday. The mission is to complete it in 2 days. It wasn’t a grueling task – more perennials and less self seeding beds, and the dry weather up to now has kept the annual weeds manageable.
Found sawfly caterpillars on the columbine so sprayed them well. I’m determined to have columbine foliage along with the blooms this year. Noticed the deer have also found the peas so sprayed them with Safer’s soap as well as a temporary measure. I will need to stretch chicken wire along the rows to really deter them. We obviously have a doe with a fawn in the yard, and from experience they habitually eat the same things over and over so I have drier strips on lots of plants and shrubs.
Click images for larger view.
Posted on June 19th, 2011 No comments
The rain has returned. On the 17th it came as a Birthday present, a slow and deep 1-inch of rain, and even though we couldn’t use the newly screened in patio that we rushed to finish for the birthday deadline I was quite happy. The gardens and the weeds are loving this new foreign experience of ‘wet’.
The deer have found my Adam’s cherry tree and the plum tree so I have pinned drier strips to both of them to keep the night time nibblers away. The plum tree by the way is loaded with little plum buds, which I have a hard time believing are going to be actual plums… so I’m checking them every day to see if they are just going to fall off. If they don’t then my new method for helping the pollination worked really well. It looks like the tree is going to be loaded.
On the 16th we mowed the complete yard and now after the rain it looks green and lush. Lots of weeding to get to today and tomorrow between rains to try and keep ahead.
Last Monday evening as I was yet again struggling to get the new chickens to go in the shed for the night I decided that my best option was to give away the 4 remaining older chickens. Although they were still laying for me 100% and it would be sad to see them go they were making the nightly roosting ritual grief for everyone, and they were disturbing the peace in general. So the next day I let the 4 into the day camp for the morning hours and then loaded them into a crate by noon as we were headed off to the city. I had made arrangements with a friend to take them and now they live on her farm with a wide variety of other animals and birds and will love it there because she lets them free range. She has emailed to say that they are quite contented and the peaking order squabbles ceased right away after we left. I am grateful she was willing to take my girls. 16 was too many for my little coop.
The 12 new birds are now quite happy and have set their own roosting schedule which is just shortly after 9pm. It didn’t take them long to then start figuring out that I am a food bringer and just like the other ones rush to the door when I show up. They won’t get to go day camping until after they all start laying, and so far only 4 are doing so. They are probably about 18 weeks of age. With all the rain on the 17th I decided they should get shut in to the coop in the late afternoon since they were absolutely soaked and it was getting cold. I was amazed when they responded as directed when I prodded them towards the back entry with my cattle flag. They grouped and went in easily knowing now that the shed is there safe spot where they are undisturbed.
Posted on June 11th, 2011 No comments
Have been going at it pretty steady and haven’t posted an update of gardening progress since the 4th. Still no rain and still no real heat, but the no heat bit is good if the ‘no rain’. The yard is starting to look like summer although most everything is still pretty short. We finally received the the new motor for the riding mower so Gene dropped it in and today I got partly caught up with all the mowing . And the chickens can now be hauled back and forth again for day camping. The 4 of them that is …that remain of the 11 I had last week.
Last Friday morning (in the absence of my riding mower) I gave the chickens some more range area by using rebar and chicken wire to make a temporary spot adjoining their courtyard so they could get at the grass. I have been doing this since the lawn tractor broke 2 or 3 weeks ago. On this day however, a fox decided the flimsy wire was no obstacle and she took 7 of my chickens (made off with 3, partly buried 1 and left 4 others dead. I was just inside the house for the morning painting the patio room ceiling. When I went out I wondered why 3 of my chickens were coming up the garden path to meet me. I thought they had merely gotten out until I saw all the feathers and dead birds in the temporary fenced area and even in their courtyard. The fox must have been coming and going for a while… and in broad daylight. I didn’t for a minute expect anything to get at them and was being careful to keep the opening at the top to a minimum to discourage a hawk from taking another one. It was a sad day and I felt I had let them down not ensuring their protection.
The good news is I called the grower that a friend had just picked up some ready to lay, 16 week old birds. He didn’t have any to spare but took my name and the day before yesterday called back to say that he had a cancellation. So off we went to the city to pick up 12 new birds.
Putting them in with the remaining 4 older ones was a bit of a concern since the older birds want to assert dominance and are brutal in getting that message across. Also, last evening at dusk I couldn’t get the new ones to go back into the coop. I closed them inside for the 1st while until they got acclimatized somewhat but eventually had to open up the door to the courtyard where the older 4 were because they had to meet before roosting time and get the dominance thing over with. However, after the older ones finally went in to roost (and take their preferred upper rungs) I though the young ones would go in, but try as I might to heard them they didn’t get the ‘in’ bit by going through the back opening from the courtyard. So today I put the 4 older birds out to day camp for most of the day, and with Gene’s help herded the young ones out the main courtyard door, and straight back in the main coop door and then closed them in for a good part of the day. They didn’t roost or climb to any of the levels since I expect they have spent their entire lives so far in a large pen with hundreds of other birds. They will get it eventually, but I needed them to get onto the coop setting as I don’t want them sleeping outside for another night. Only 1 is laying, but outside in the courtyard since they haven’t figured out the nesting berths, or even how to get roosted for the night inside.
Posted on June 10th, 2011 No comments
Bloom – Click images for larger view.
Posted on June 4th, 2011 No comments
Not much gardening has been happening partly due to other projects on the go, but also because it’s been so cold. Last night I got up at 4 to check the temperature and it was 0C. I hadn’t covered the annuals, corn, beans etc because I didn’t realize in time it was getting so cold. Today however, with it being only 5C all afternoon and feeling like I need mittens I decided to cover everything for the night. This takes lots of time… dropping a layer of flax mulch over all the annual transplants and new seedlings, as well as covering the 4 rows of corn with row covers and weighting the covers down with bricks and rocks. But, it’s worth it if an hours work saves all the work put into the growing so far, and not having to start over at this stage with corn, beans and beets which have zero frost tolerance.
The flowers have survived last night and the one cold night I missed last week that did however kill the marigolds which have less that zero frost tolerance. The beans were touched last night but everything else was ok. Thank God for our greenhouse which keeps the tomatoes, peppers, cucs and zucchini safe from frost and wind.
Some years I don’t need to cover at all once the transplants are in. This year however I’ve had to do it several times already. Snow flakes were seen today here and there, and parts of Alberta had a snowfall yesterday.
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Posted on June 3rd, 2011 No comments
Now that the living room is painted I’m on to the patio room. The walls need a color of paint decided on, but I can’t seem to get there. In the meantime I have to get all the ceiling repairs sanded and primed and then the whole ceiling painted. That choice is easy – white.
Gene has started his long anticipated project of closing in the back patio. When it’s done and the patio room is painted we are planning a ‘patio party’ for my birthday. It’s a deadline… and that works. The uprights, ledge and door are installed, next comes the lower wall and the screening and then the ceiling. To hide the very old and stained concrete pad will look for an indoor outdoor carpet, or perhaps a surface paint.
Posted on June 2nd, 2011 No comments
Before and After
The living room and entry finally got finished