I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Gardening, Processing and Critters....

It's a beautiful August Monday morning. The sun is sparkling through the raindrops hanging on everything from the good Gardener's inch, plus, of rain we had overnight. My glads took a beating, and now we have an indoor bouquet to admire at close range.

It has been dry since August 11, with only the odd shower and no measurable amount of rain. I had to break out the hoses and do a little watering! There isn't as much ground to cover now, as the onions, garlic, beans and some carrots have been harvested, so just had to give the vine hills a good drink, as all the turnips, tomatoes and peppers are well mulched. Feeling down around at the base of those plants, one can feel the cool moist soil.   
Seeing all those areas of bare soil, I was inspired to buy a bag of buckwheat seed, spread it on them, scuffle it in a bit, and because things were drying out, I watered it for the first few days. I planted it on August 21. It was sprouting on the 24th,and this was taken on the 26th,
and this is today!

Man that stuff grows quickly!

This is our fifth growing season here, but only four with more than one garden bed. Every year has been an adventure, either too much rain, (2017, there were puddles as big as little ponds in the yard on the first of July, with wood ducks frequenting them! To 2019, with the August drought, and 2020 with the spring drought, and August deluges.) This year has been a good gardening year all round, really. In between the rain events, there has been lots of heat, especially in July and August. At times I've felt guilty to be getting all that moisture, when so many areas of the continent have been on fire....

So, the crops are coming in now, the tomatoes are ripening well.

I've never had such big, beautiful, unblemished fruit,
 and am planning a trip or two to the local food bank, as I do not need it all. I've picked a few peppers and dried them for winter pizzas,
and the bean harvest is winding down.
Thankfully, the forecast is moderating, the heat and humidity is supposed to ease as we head on through this week, so I'll be able to do my processing in the kitchen, instead of on the verandah.

We have not seen too much activity in the bush on the trail cameras, but just yesterday, we picked up the SD cards, and there is the fawn with her mom, much bigger, her spots fading.

On the same camera, a little later, this is what appeared, 

and then this,

the curious culprit bounding off to keep up with mom!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The garden in mid August.....

Over the past week, we've had quite a few days of brutal heat and humidity, but on Friday, things cooled a bit, and working outside is a much more pleasant experience now. According to the weather forecast, the heat and humidity are on their way back for the latter part of this week. (They are here now!)

This day lily keeps blooming and blooming!

My first planting of beans has been harvested, processed and the plants pulled. The second planting is blooming now.

Tomato plants are loaded with green fruit, and some fruit are showing a bit of pink.

We have picked and eaten a couple off of one plant, that were red, but they could have used just a tad more time on the vine. That variety, although called Ultra Sweet, was flavourless, and I wonder if all the rain we've had could be the reason. As other varieties ripen, and are tasted, I'll have a better idea if that is the case. In other words, that first tomato, although lovely and juicy, was just bland.

We've tried a couple of the little Chocolate Sprinkles.
A couple of the top ones on the stem seemed ripe, although they have a pretty green mottling on them, so its hard to tell. When cut open, the insides were dark red and had a good flavour, so I am waiting patiently for some more of them to ripen. The only two tomato plants I raised from seed, that survived the late May frost, are Sweet Millions, and we've had a handful or two of those sweet little red orbs. 

The squash and pumpkins are growing by leaps and bounds, the squash are getting a nice, deep orange colour, and some of the pumpkins are starting to turn pale orange.

Best Buds are getting bigger!

The cucumbers have vined out, the picklers draping themselves further over the pallet ramps than the Straight 8's.

I've already made one batch of Bread and Butter pickles and almost have enough cucs for a batch of Nine Day pickles, two of our favourite sweet pickles. 


I'm still waiting on the dill to ripen some more before I tackle a batch of those.

The gladiola row has put out a phalanx of bud spikes, and the first few are opening, and are being quarreled over by the resident Hummers.

This year's hatch have taken wing, and the heavy traffic to the nectar feeders require them to be cleaned and refilled every 3 to 4 days.

I'm keeping ahead of the zucchini harvest... just...having made three batches of zuc bread for the freezer, frozen several bags for future muffins and made boats of one that got missed, and grew large.

Up in the barn, the garlic spread out on the old screen doors, and the hanging onions, are drying.

 I've used some garlic cloves in a couple of batches of basil pesto...what huge, crisp, juicy cloves they are!

I pulled my first planting of carrots which were nestled between the tomato plants.

There was the odd forked one and a few had signs of carrot fly maggots, so those were sliced and blanched, and are in the dehydrator. The rest are layered in paper towels in my vegetable crisper drawer, as I've found that is the best way to keep them.

I've picked and dried some of the herbs I'll use over the winter, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, savory, mint, borage and parsley. The red peppers are turning from green to red, and soon there will be enough to make red pepper jelly. Relish, salsa and chili sauce are still on the to-do list, but will have to wait until those tomatoes ripen.


Monday, August 9, 2021

Garden and wildlife....

We've been out of data for a little while, and the daily habit of checking e-mail and reading blogs got sidelined, but yes, I'm still here! The garden production is ramping up, and it is a daily task joy to pick and process. A friend has been hospitalized after a fall, and I've been trying to process some of her garden produce for her as well. Having also started the job of scraping and painting the verandah, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed! I'm way behind on reading my favourite blogs, and corresponding with friends! Any way, here are a few things happening in my neck of the woods.

I got my garlic dug up and it is drying up in the barn, on suspended old screen doors. Some of the cloves are fist sized.

wheelbarrow full


About a week later, I pulled the onions, as they were all laying down. They are now tied in bunches of 5, and hung up in the barn to cure. At planting time, I thought the sets were very small, but the bulbs they have produced are inspiring!

227, give or take a few

My pepper patch is doing really well now. We had a cold and wet weekend at the first of August, but now the heat is on, the long, sweet red peppers are turning red, and the green guys seem to get bigger overnight. I just need the tomatoes to catch up so I can get going on a batch or two of our favourite salsa and chili sauce.

Pic taken before they started turning red

I place large rocks in amongst the plants to absorb, then radiate heat back at night. 

I have two different eggplants, one is producing a dark oval shaped fruit, and the other is producing a long, somewhat thin, mauve coloured fruit.



The squash and pumpkin vines are crawling out of the garden, and making so many new fruit that I've cut off the ends of the vines, hoping they will put their energy into enlarging the existing fruit instead of making more! I planted two hills of pie pumpkins and 4 hills of Little Gem, a red kuri squash, and in places the vines are crossing each other. The square white things are plastic lids I put under each fruit to keep it off the ground.

Best buds

I've started picking cucumbers, Straight 8's for eating, and have almost enough small picklers for the first batch of Bread and Butter pickles. The dill is tall and blooming, and hopefully will be ready for a batch or two of dill pickles as well. My inter-planted  marigolds and nasturtiums are taking off, and my morning glory trellis is daily producing more and more blooms.

Gorgeous orange


The double row of gladiola up the middle of the field garden are sending up spikes of buds, so soon they will be blooming and quarreled over by the resident humming birds. 

There are some big, ripening beefsteak tomatoes that I check on everyday, so anxious for that first, ripe, juicy fruit. The tomato plants are all loaded, thanks to the ridiculous amounts of rain this summer. I added up all my measurements from the garden calendar, and the total exceeds 17 inches; 9.5 inches in June, and 8.25 inches in July. We have had just over a quarter of an inch so far in August. We pumped the big water tank full in May, and it still sits there, just down a bit from the only watering I had to do around planting time, late May and early June!

The red guys are hiding, low and at the back

The trail cameras are not showing us many deer this summer, but perhaps that is explained by what seems to be a surfeit of coyotes and wolves. We are also seeing more bears on camera. One sow appears to have a yearling with her, as well as this year's cub. Along one of our trails through the old growing up fields, an apple tree struggles to stay alive where it is being shaded out. We have a video of a bear reaching up and pulling down the branches to get at some very green fruit. This pic was taken off of the video.

vertical bear

The bush is quieter, as the bird chorus has diminished, but the cicadas and crickets are filling that void now.