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

Friday, June 28, 2024

Gardens at the end of June...

 June 28, 2024

Rain...rain....rain. By the time last weekend was over, we had 5.5 inches of rain. The pond came up and puddles began to form in the yard wherever we usually get snow melt-water puddles in the spring. To cap it off, another half inch fell on Wednesday. I'm standing on this rock step leading down to the pond. It was high and dry before the rain came, and you can see all the submerged vegetation that had started to grow on the banks of the pond as the water subsided.

Loved seeing this guy, a Green frog, who stayed to get his photo taken.
The blackberries that insist on growing along the pond edge are doing really well with all the rain. I should get a good picking off just these few bushes.
Since the rain, temperatures have cooled, over nights dipping into the high single digits
(9C 48F), days breezy and relatively cool for late in June.
The young deer that we've shooed off so many times in the day, has changed her strategy, and has been showing up at night. As a consequence, I've been trying to shield stuff with hardware cloth and whatever else might work. The cover over the carrots is a reuse of the shade cloth frame I made a few years ago. I take it off during the day. In the far end is the pepper patch, covered, basil and other herbs are beside the barrel of oregano.
She had a good nibble on my 9 sunflowers, (also baby beets, strawberry leaves, cucumber leaves...) a dwarf variety that I put in the end of this raised bed. There are greens in the far end and 4 tomato plants staggered up the middle. One is my favourite cherry, Rapunzel, the other three are a paste variety.

The row cover is keeping my broccoli safe. The front right is a replanting, as she got that one before the cover went on.
The onion bed, sets in the foreground, seed onions in the far end. It is so nice to be able to go out and pull (and pick!) fresh produce again. There are marigolds planted here and there, and are turning out not to be the small French variety I usually plant. Time will tell what they really are.

The beans are starting to flower, the row of companion dill is forming bud clumps. The double gladiola row is behind that. I had so many glad corms, I gorilla gardened them out along the road along our property wherever there was a sunny spot, and they are coming up, except for a few that chipmunks dug up.

Almost ready! I think we will be having fresh peas sometime over this weekend.
I planted nasturtium seeds in the old cold frame. As the summer progresses, the frame gets a lot less morning sun, but I am hoping the nasturtiums will give me a burst of colour by the fall. Again, an old screen door is affixed to prevent Bambi's nibbling. Deer aren't supposed to like nasturtiums, but they might give it a try to find that out.

The Field Garden slopes slightly downhill toward the north. All the rain ran down the pathways and accumulated across the tomato bed at the end. Thankfully they are planted in a mound, and I'd mulched then with straw, so they did not end up being a muddy mess. (Brandy Wines, Box Car Willies) In the space behind them, are volunteer spuds from last year that I left and will be planting beans around them soon.
The potato plants at the south end are huge and bushy, the reds are blooming,
the other varieties starting to show bud clusters.

The various squash varieties down the side are doing well. They really jumped over the hot days. The pumpkins are beating the others to the crawling stage, and today I started steering their runners out of the garden with strategic stakes.
I made a bee waterer for the front perennial bed. This end has yet to be developed much, but I planted some annuals for a bit of colour.
The other end is coming along. Our bird bath has been languishing in the barn since we moved, so I popped it in here for a bit of interest. Liatris spikes are rising, bee balm is budding up and the false sunflower is blooming.

No takers for the bath yet. We did see a Veery make a quick trip through the vegetation, Robins and Chipping sparrows forage in it, robins particularly love hopping along the edges. 

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Turkey tails, varnish shelf and rain....

June 23, 2024

 So, the heat dome came, and we cooked and sweltered for about three days, but now it has moved on eastward. The temperature came back to it's 'normal' range, and yesterday, last night, and this morning....it is raining, raining. The rain gauge was at the half inch mark yesterday around noon, so no watering will be necessary for a week.

On the hot days, we worked outside as long as we could stand it, then came in to clean up and cool down. Periodically, while outside, we'd pump up a good drink of icy water from the old well...so delicious. We did drive to Eganville one afternoon to pick up parts for a project Hubby is working on, and stopped at the picnic area along the highway beside Golden Lake at Deacon. The heat sure hit us on stepping out of the air-conditioned vehicle.

The project Hubby is working on involves milling some lumber, so he dropped a big spruce tree that was almost dead, and has been carrying the logs out of the bush, suspended from the tractor bucket to keep them clean for the milling process.
He was caught on 'bird cam' on his way out of the bush. Note the temperature. The camera is in the shade on the tree trunk, and does not factor in humidity.

We picked up the SD cards from the cameras yesterday...doing our walk around in a light drizzle. It appears that the birds and animals were laying low as well as the humans. There were some deer milling around the salt block, a couple having a bit of a spat, as ears were back and hooves were raised. There were repeat birds on 'bird cam', but this fellow was kind of cute...

despite the fact that he and his Chipmunk brethren have eaten pretty much every strawberry.....
The Purple Flowering Raspberries are blooming. They are a pretty flower, but the fruit is not too flavourful.

There are a lot of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies around this spring. They seem to show up as soon as the lilacs start to bloom, and they love the chives. I wonder if they know that yellow and purple are such complimentary colours?
Sadly, we are not seeing many Monarch butterflies. I sure hope that changes as the summer progresses.

This bright fungus grabbed our attention along the trail, the moisture highlighting its colour, although it is shiny even when it isn't raining. A common name for it is Hemlock varnish shelf, because it does look like someone varnished it.

It is a Hemlock Reishi mushroom, appropriately growing on a mossy Hemlock stump. On another woods wander, I spotted this log covered in Turkey Tail mushrooms...What an interesting pattern their rosettes make.

Hopefully there will be lots of other mushrooms showing up after the rain. We are currently under a rainfall warning, expecting 50 to 80 mm (2 to 3 inches) before the sun comes out again. So, gardening is in a bit of a holding pattern. The peas are blooming and setting pods, we've been enjoying fresh assorted greens, and one of my favourites, baby beets and their greens. The spinach has bolted..of course. It will soon be time to thin the first planting of carrots, and the second one is showing tiny feathery shoots.



Saturday, June 15, 2024

Young 'uns...

June 15, 2024

It is hard to imagine, that in a few days we are going to be in sweltering heat...so say the weather forecasters. Only 8C this morning (46F), and several mornings over the past week have been just as chilly, or more so. We even had a small fire one morning to take the edge off. Some major storms blew through on Thursday, when we were under a tornado watch for most of the day. In the evening, we got a good dumping of rain in a rather vigorous thunderstorm. That added to the good inch+ of rain that fell on Sunday, topping up the rain total for the week to just under an inch and a half.   

The garden is poking along, some things liking the cooler temperatures, some not so much. Garlic is sending up scapes, the potatoes are doing well, buds forming on the red variety; peas are blooming, and the zucchini is big enough to cage. I may regret that I kept two healthy zuc plants! As they grow, the cage keeps the plants vertical, thereby taking up less space. Once the plant begins blooming and sets fruit, I take out the leaves below the fruit, which allows easier access for picking, and there is less likelihood of one escaping notice and growing into a behemoth.

There has been a small, last year's deer fawn, showing up periodically around the yard, to the detriment of a few garden plants...one of my best broccoli seedlings, some spinach, and she pruned all the new growth off of one of the plum trees. She appears mostly in the evening, and it takes some persuasion to make her leave. We've installed the 'yard guard', a device that sends out high frequency sound waves...it didn't work on raccoons or black squirrels in previous gardens, but we are giving it a go...along with a lot of hardware cloth cloches, and a row cover over the brassica patch. The row cover was going to go on anyway, in an attempt to thwart the cabbage moths. 

We have been expecting to see a new deer fawn or two on the trail cameras, as the does begin to move about with their offspring a few weeks after they are born. The peak birthing time of white-tailed deer around here, is mid-May. Sure enough...

Another young one...a robin with a spotted breast on 'Bird cam.'

Someone small and furry...
Someone big and furry, and her calves...
which she led right across the front yard....
The branch where 'Bird cam' is located, seems to be a good perching spot. There were a lot of pictures of birds whose pictures I've posted before, plus new this week, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Having a closer look at the camera...

There were also some shots of Chickadees hanging on the roving ball and pulling out tufts of wool.                                        

This afternoon, the sky is clear, the brilliant sunshine glistening on the newly washed greenery all around, but at mid-afternoon, the temperature is stalled out at 16C (60F). Not the best temperature for growing melons, peppers and tomatoes.
The red poppies are in full bloom, as is the peony. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Gone fishin'......

 June 9, 2024

This week started off with a fishing day on the beautiful Bonnechere River. It was a shake-down cruise for a leaky aluminum boat that Hubby had obtained from a friend. After a lot of work, no leaks!!

We accessed below Round Lake and fished our way down to where the river flows into Golden Lake. The Bonnechere is a 'pool and drop' river which means it has sections of narrower, somewhat weedy shallow spots that have a slight current, then large, lake-like openings, some of which are up to 40ft. deep. The river flows softly along beside farmer's fields where we heard Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks singing. The feisty Kingbirds made their presence known, perching in trees along the shore and swooping down on unsuspecting bugs. 

We caught a number of small Northern Pike which we returned to the river. One heftier one, and a big Perch came home with us.

We've had over an inch of rain this week, most of which fell on Wednesday. It was quite warm at the beginning of the week, but now the temperature has dropped to cooler digits. Over the last few days, the sun has been warring with clouds, and there have been lots of intermittent spotty showers. Today the mercury has struggled to get up to 18C. (64F)

We picked up the SD cards from the trail cameras this morning, and surprise, surprise....This fellow came right by one like he wanted his picture taken. See the growing antlers on his head?


On the "Bird" cam... a Rose-breasted Grosbeak..


A Veery...


An Eastern Phoebe...perhaps one of the pair who are busy building a nest under the eaves on the front verandah..


Do you think this robin has caught on to me?? I think we are getting the 'stink eye'.

(Click on the pics to make them bigger.)

The year we moved here, I brought a pot of chives I'd dug up from my previous garden. It sat out on these patio slabs for quite a while before I made a place to plant it out. We were busy getting settled and making gardens. It bloomed and went to seed....all over, filling all the cracks. Now there are chives everywhere, and this one odd clump which is white...

The first red poppy opened yesterday morning, big buds are swelling on the peony, and if you look closely, there are buds rising in the day lily clumps. We've eaten the very first fat strawberry, carefully halved, as the rest are quite green yet. Haskaps are starting to blue up, but are still very tart. The first row of beets was thinned today. All the transplants are settling in and starting to put out new growth. 


Saturday, June 1, 2024

Monster 'Jacks', orchids and stars....

June 1, 2024

We had a good "gardener's" inch of rain earlier in the week, a couple of very cool nights, one with actual frost, and now the temperatures are rising into friendlier growing territory. I think/hope I can stash away all the frost covers until August.

The gardens are planted, the potato patch is the only thing that is showing really visible growth, although most of the collection of squash varieties along the far side have popped up their first set of leaves.

One big project is nearing completion, although it will always be a work in progress. The perennial bed I started back in April of /23...


looks like this now.

It has an eclectic selection of plants, mostly perennials; a lot of pollinator friendly stuff, and other things that took my fancy. I'm sure that I'll be mixing it up, adding and subtracting, for many years to come.

I've been doing a little bush wandering, now that the gardens are planted. The Lady Slipper Orchids are in full bloom. It is amazing how hard they are to spot...

You would expect a pink flower amidst greenery would be easily visible, but no... Another orchid I found and have been watching for a couple of years now, is blooming. I think it is a Round-leaved orchid.

I originally spotted the unusual leaves, and went back to the spot in the spring.
Here is it's inflorescence.

It is technically still spring, but pretty much all the spring ephemerals that bloom here are moving on to seed production now. I did find this late blooming Starflower.

Down in a moist spot along one of our trails I found a group of monster Jack-in-the-pulpits...
The huge leaves drew my attention.

Milkweed plants are preparing to bloom. That timing is just right, as the Monarch butterflies started filtering in over the past week.
Most of the tilling and planting is done. Now it is the tending, watching and waiting time. 

The first Lemon Lilies opened today.