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

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Grab a cup and 'set a spell'........

 August 24, 2023

You might want to sit down and grab a cup of tea...this may take a while!

We've been keeping busy, the root cellar is coming along, garden is growing, blackberries are starting to ripen, pickling is in full swing, and apples are starting to fall.

The root cellar has been wrapped in tar paper, hardware cloth and topped with heavy duty plastic, vented, and is now being buried...a bit. Hubby is still working on the framing for the entry way, and the doors have to be made as well. I will be so happy to see the end of those weed covered piles of earth. It will be an ongoing chore to get those weeds under control once everything is buried and smoothed over. I hope to get clover growing all over the hump.

We got out on the lake for a lovely relaxing day. We are careful about checking the weather, as Round Lake can get beastly pretty fast, being so open. The surface was so calm and the clouds were marching across the sky, reflecting prettily in the water. I was surprised my little camera captured it a bit.



Those clouds marched on and grew and grew until they covered the sun. We came home and just as we finished putting things away, we had a downpour that filled the gauge to the half inch mark. 

My red and white glads are opening, and the Hummingbirds keep trying to stick their beaks into the tight buds that are just emerging from their sheaths. The white guys are a little slow.

Looks like I will have a modest crop of acorn and butternut squash, 

and quite a few pumpkins. This one is the most colourful so far.

I did an amble around the best spots for blackberries earlier today. I managed to find a few, and there are lots more coming along. I am hoping to get enough to make a batch of jelly. It is just brutal picking them though. One must practically don armour. 

Thirteen quarts of dill pickles, two batches of bread and butters, one cooling on the kitchen counter as I write this, (did you hear that satisfying "snap" just now?) and two batches of 9 day pickles, one still with 4 days to go. My cucumbers this year have been amazing. They are growing so well climbing the old fencing. I'll be done pickling before they will be done producing!

The pepper patch is doing so much better now, after a slow start.

The garlic and onion harvest is spread on screens in the barn, drying, and the Kelsae onions I left in the ground are certainly growing larger. They are so sweet and juicy. That is baby white clover growing where I pulled the onions.

The plan was to plant turnip seedlings where the garlic was pulled, but the seedlings refused to grow hale and hearty in the heat of the summer. Only 4 were even possibilities when it came that time. I just dug out spots in the new perennial bed, filled them with compost and popped the few little turnips in there the first of August. Look at them now!

I do believe I will have a few turnips after all. I'll leave them through the first few frosts to make them tasty.

Tomatoes are looking good, and we've harvested a few ripe ones already...so delicious. 

  And lastly.....

There are at least 5 watermelons the size of the biggest pictured here, as well as many more smaller ones. I have nipped the ends of the vines to encourage them to fatten up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

A change of pace.....

 August 15, 2023

 We did get more rain, another half inch plus for a total of 4 inches since the first of August. 

Sunday was threatening moisture, so a last minute planned outing to meet a couple of friends at a half way point between their place down south, and ours up here was postponed to Monday. 

Yesterday, we were up and away in good time to watch the very orange orb of day rise behind us as we headed down the highway. We were heading to a bit of old stomping ground, to a lake we have bass fished quite a few times. 

We'd been told that the crown land around had been logged over the winter, but were totally gob-smacked to see the familiar road sides so decimated. Around each bend, the bush was gone, the land brutalized, just the white pines left standing tall and alone, with this summer's undergrowth of young poplars and berry canes growing at their feet. Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. Bare areas of  bedrock were visible, the rocks looking bleached and naked, the scant topsoil exposed and washed away once the sheltering trees were gone.

 It used to be a slow, bumpy drive in low gear, watching the boat trailer bump and jostle behind, always wondering if this time, will we be able to get there. Of course the winding road has been improved for the log trucks, no longer so many hogs backs of bare rock to traverse, no longer the curiosity of how deep the overflow of the beaver dams along the way would be, as those flooded areas would have been fixed for the trucks. Consequently, more people are accessing the lake, and at the "parking" area, sure enough, folks were camping, several tents set up and a fancy fishing boat tied to a tree beside the launching area. 

The loggers had left the prerequisite screen of trees along the lake on the side that had been logged, but the derecho that blew through the area last summer had toppled those pines, so all along that shore were large tree trunks sticking out into the lake, their brown, dead tops submerged, the barren landscape so very visible behind. 

Sad, so sad. We could not recognize parts of the road and questioned each other about which spot held a specific memory of years past. 

Enough of that. 

We were at the lake first, and had been fishing for a good hour or so before we saw our friends coming across to say hello. We chatted for a bit, then headed off separately to fish, agreeing to join up at lunch time, tie our craft together, eat lunch and catch up on all our news. That happened, and we had a nice time, even staying tied and fishing out of the opposite sides of our respective craft to continue our conversations. 

So... some pictures...none of the devastated land.

It was a little foggy and cool earlier, but cleared to a beautiful day. The far hills seemed shrouded in fog. We assumed it was the trees respiring all the moisture we've received lately, but on returning home, found out it was at least partially smoke from the fires in Quebec.

The biggest catch of the day......

Sadly, not ours!

Friday, August 11, 2023

OK, enough rain for now, thank you!!

 August 11, 2023

We have had three and a half inches of rain this week. It rained a lot on Tuesday, Wednesday was hot and sunny, then we had torrential downpours yesterday. The sky got so very dark fairly early in the morning, the thunder started, and then it rained, and rained and rained. It cleared a bit late afternoon, and the sun came out, but it was just a tease, as another deluge struck. By bedtime, the sky had cleared, and the system had passed.

Today was a day to get some gardening done, before tomorrow rolls around with it's forecast of more rain..... Everything is so green for this time of year.

The onions got pulled out and hung up in the barn to cure, compost added to their empty space, and white clover planted. 

I left the Kelsaes to see how big they will get. 

The first planting of carrots are getting to a good size,

and russet potatoes from the bottom of just one stem.

The first tomato to start ripening, a Mule Team beefsteak.

The roof is going on the root cellar....

And finally.....this is a WATERMELON! That is a golf ball beside it. There are lots more melons growing, but that is the biggest one I can find.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Summer stuff....

 Some pretties....

 Lots of buds this year....

A big fat Monarch worm.....there are so few this summer....


Knitting and minding the boiling beets...pickles in the process....

Cucs coming along....
Dill almost ready for cucs....

 Lots of green tomatoes. The waiting is on....

Bunching basil for drying...

Basil and sage hanging to dry. For those two, I prefer this method to using the dehydrator. Also I can pretty much forget about them until fall. Bags are all perforated with a paper punch for air flow.

Prepping parsley for dehydrating...

More trumpets!!!! Yummmm...

Garlic harvest... Fat and juicy!!!

Root cellar progress....Still a long way to go. Roof timbers and vent needed, entry way and doors to be built, crushed stone to be spread inside. Yes, a drain was installed at the beginning. Hardware cloth and tar-paper is ready for wrapping, then the job of moving the monster, weed covered piles of earth back to bury it all.

And finally, the newest members of "our herd"...