Time to say good by…

Well, when I began this journey back in 2014 who knew where it was going to go. I started this blog to record my Camino adventure and now six years later, this chapter is over.

I’m not quite ready to stop journaling yet though. I have created a new site and will continue there. I hope that those of you who read my posts will follow me to my new site; tellingtinytales.wordpress.com

Thank you all for spending time with me on my travels and with me here on the farm.

I hope to see you all soon 😊😊

Winter has finally arrived

I struggled a bit trying come up with a name for this post which I hadn’t used before. Turns out, I used “polar vortex” almost exactly two years ago which supports my then argument that this type of cold weather is completely normal for Saskatchewan in the February. I think January and February take turns being the nastiest month—although I believe cold in January is worse because there is no heat in the sun, and it only shines for about twenty minutes a day. All right. Slight exaggeration. It feels like only twenty minutes. I get up in the dark, go to work in the dark and then come home to do chores in the dark. But where else can you see a sunrise like this!!

We’ve had an unbelievably mild winter which makes this recent cold snap all the more wicked. Buses were cancelled for four days last week. I almost didn’t plug it in on Friday as the forecast was for a -46C with the windchill. Thankfully I did as we drove Friday. It wasn’t too bad, -28 in the morning with a high of -22. But then it dropped again last night.

I think the heat tape on my water line into the house is not working. I’ve never had such trouble keeping the water running. Depending on which way the wind blows, and at -35 it just takes a breath of wind, the water freezes just where it comes into the house. I have a particular ability (possibly a curse) to think of a time and wake up a minute or two ahead of it. So for the past week I’ve been setting my internal alarm clock for about every three hours to get up and run the water. Usually that’s often enough but more than a few times it hasn’t been. My trusty hairdryer which I use almost exclusively for thawing water pipes is at the ready. It usually takes only a few seconds to minutes to warm it enough to clear the ice but the other day, my daughter and I were distracted watching a movie in the afternoon and the water froze!! Hard!! It took over an hour with the hairdryer and I was worried I’d have no water for a few days till someone with a more professional rig could come do the job. But finally it let go. I usually fill a couple jugs with drinking water and a five gallon pail full for the animals but as it was daytime I hadn’t bothered. It’s a hard lesson that I relearn every single winter—and sometimes every cold snap. I am really looking forward to sleeping again for more than a few hours at a time. It’s like having little children, or baby animals that need frequent feeding, in the house. The good part is that it is February and there’s a fair amount of heat in the sun. Spring is on the way.

The animals are coping well with the cold. Before Christmas, anticipating colder weather, I rigged up an internal shelter for the goats inside the barn. Momma goat is getting old and really feels the cold so I wanted a smaller space for them that would hold the heat better. It also had to have some sort of barrier to separate her from her daughter, Sissy goat. I also didn’t want to make anything too permanent or too rigid in the event of the inevitable battles for dominance. I had a set of bars, not sure exactly what from that I secured to the wall and to a steel t-bar that I pounded into the dirt floor. The ground wasn’t frozen yet, thanks to our extremely mild winter so far. Then a couple of 2 x 4’s across and a couple sheets of plywood on the top, all covered up with the old sleeping bags and quilts I’d saved over the years. I secured the heat lamp on one side, momma goat’s side, but the bars allowed the heat to move from side to side. There’s lots of room to lie either directly under the light, or off to the side if that is too warm.

I know, it really doesn’t look like much, but I crawled in, on the cold side one evening after chores just to see how warm it was, and it was surprisingly toasty. Not house temperature of course but certainly much warmer than outside. After spotting some cat sized divots in the straw I set up the game camera to see how it was being used.

See the stray cat off to the side. He’s been hanging around all fall and I’m pleased he’s found a warm place for the winter.
The cat feeding station in the grainary. it has to be tucked under something to keep the magpies from eating the food, but open enough so the stray doesn’t feel trapped.
This is Sissy goat on her own side. I can tell by the shape of her horns.
The dog on Sissy’s side and momma goat on her own side. I’m just so happy that the dog is using this little hotbox too! Doesn’t she just look so cozy 😊

The ponies are quite happy—I’m going thru quite a bit of feed but food is fuel and the internal furnace must be stoked.

The chickens usually take a holiday from laying eggs in the winter, but I’ve kept quite a few replacement hens, all hatched here on the farm and they’re laying up a storm. Their coop is quite small but I don’t have supplemental heat in there. Their body heat alone is enough to warm to building up to about -5 to -10. That’s about a thirty degree difference to the outside temperature so they’re quite comfortable if a bit cramped. Humidity is the killer so I close the coop at night but leave the door cracked open during the day. Their little chicken door is always open. It won’t last long. As soon as we warm a bit they’ll be back outside for the days, basking in the sun.

The dog has been bringing home bits of deer hide on her rambles. She has a regular patrol route around the farm, which is of course her job. I think she spends most of each night right here, on top of the manure pile, barking at the coyotes. They’ve been very active recently, having a huge home range. They were just out in the meadow from the sounds of them the other night. The big dog does a great job of keeping them away.

Deer hide and hoof trimmings—every dogs dream snack!!

There’s a danger here in the winter, with these cold temperatures, that chimneys will freeze over, allowing carbon monoxide to accumulate in the house. My chimney looks partly frozen but not as bad as some years.

There’s quite a bit of snow up there too!!

Anyway, the sun is warm and it’s supposed to warm up next week. But for now, I’m enduring, if not enjoying, the cold. Stay warm out there.

How hard could it be?

I’ve had the horrible bad luck these last few years to have nothing but male goat kids. And I’ve had to work way too hard to get rid of them. I’m lucky that I do know a local fellow who buys a couple kids every year (or almost every year, as he’s also a hunter and when he gets a deer, he doesn’t want the goats). This year he took a smaller one for bbq-ing in the summer, but the Christmas goat he reserved got cancelled when he got his deer.

Way back when the kids (my children 😊) were small I always put a goat or two in the freezer. I liked it much better than lamb but once I started raising rabbits I didn’t really want all that extra meat. But it was a lovely versatile meat, like a very mild beef, and we liked it very much.

So when it became apparent that I would be stuck with not just one, but two young billies, I had to figure out what to do with them. I’d been buying meat scraps from the butcher for my big outside dog, a big twenty pound bag for $5, very inexpensive. I thought I could just butcher the goats for dog food. I tried recruiting my son to come help me slaughter and cut up the carcasses, but he also got a deer and the timing just didn’t work.

So I watched a couple of YouTube videos on field dressing deer. I mean, how hard could it be?!? They’re just big rabbits. And a few weeks ago, I just did it. It was a lovely warm Saturday and I turned this…

into this…

And then this…

It went so quick and so smooth I really regretted all the animals I had taken to the butchers to be killed. All the stress of loading and unloading—strange places, strange people. Here it was at home, all over in a few seconds, and no stress on the goats, or me!!

One of the best meals I’ve ever had was the day before I started my Camino, in St Jean Pied de Port. I had deliberately chosen a beautiful bed and breakfast to stay my last night before all the communal dormitories, and sought out a very good restaurant for my last civilized meal (before all the mind numbingly boring and stomach turning pilgrim meals). I wanted to try something I’d never had and chose lamb shanks. They were absolutely the best thing I’d ever eaten.

Now in all the years of having my own animals butchered, not one, and I mean NOT ONE, of the butchers was able to follow my instructions to set the shanks aside, WHOLE!! They got put in the scrap bag, sliced up into pieces or just disposed of!! So when I hung up my goat carcasses in the barn I was eyeing those shanks. A few days later I thought, you know, the dog doesn’t need those, I’ll just keep them for me!! Then I eyed the shoulders. Well, I think I could make an osso bucco version of those shoulders, so they can come off as well. As did the tenderloins, and a strip loin from the back.

I brought them into the house to thaw and bagged them up using the vacuum sealer my kids had got me for Christmas a few years back.

I have absolutely no room in my freezer at the moment so the bagged pieces of meat went back into the pail and then got buried out in a snow bank. I’m eyeing the back legs as well, but the dog needs to have something to eat. I may just take two 😊

Hidden things

I’ve been intending to write this post for several weeks now but somehow time just slipped away on me. With the leaves falling off the trees, many hidden things have been exposed. And the end of the harvest for my garden was the root vegetables, hidden in the earth.

I dug the potatoes mid October, just before a forecast arctic blast was to hit us. It wasn’t a bad harvest. I really have no room to store so many spuds so I’ve given away quite a few. The Austrian crescent potatoes did really well and such a lovely potato too!! It was an impulse buy at a local greenhouse and I wasn’t sure how well they would do. I have memories of my mother planting a similar finger potato that really didn’t do very well at all. But these hold their shape (for Austrian potato salad made with vinaigrette instead mayo) and I really like to have some pre boiled in the fridge to fry up as hash browns.

The carrots I dug a week later in a brief warm afternoon—that cold spell was a bit of a prod reminding me that winter really is coming. I got a couple large bags and an extra large bag in the fridge plus two five gallon pails which I layered in the soil they were grown in and stored in the pump house. They were lovely, such a beautiful color.

I gave away a couple bags and have been serving them at most meals.

I’ve been baking up the squash as they don’t keep well. My little dog loves a spoonful with her kibble and curried pumpkin soup is one of my favourites.

Bags of this purée will be “hidden” in the freezer 😊

After that cold snap we got a week of unusually warm weather. I used it to best advantage to tidy up the yard and garden. I dug up the parsley roots for the chickens and found this beautiful little green boat hidden under the leaves. I have no idea where it came from.

I pulled all the dried beans and put them in one of my garden sheets to beat all the dried beans out of the stalks.

Then I picked all the scarlet runner bean that were still hanging on the vines. They can be used as a dried bean so I thought instead of composting them I’d try it. Aren’t they pretty?!?

Now onto the really hidden things I’ve seen this fall.

I noticed that there was an absence of wasps this year. I looked in all the usual places for a nest, especially along the lilac hedge while mowing. Several years ago I spotted a big nest in there but try as I might, this year I couldn’t find one. Which in one way was good—I’m not a fan though I realize the wasps perform a vital service in pest control, but because I couldn’t find a nest meant I could blunder into it or near it. One year hornets built a big nest inside the tire rim of my tractor. Had I climbed up onto the tractor that could have turned ugly real quick. But this year I didn’t even see the wasps themselves. My daughter spotted this in the lilac hedge after the leaves blew off. A pretty respectable sized nest. And a respectable distance away from the house and garden.

Several weeks ago, after chores, I heard a strange sound down the hill. It didn’t sound like a guinea but that’s the only thing I could think it was. I thought I knew all the sounds they made. Then a couple days later my daughter and I heard it again. And then a big bird flew out of the bush, right at head level, flew between us and landed on the lawn. It was a pheasant!! Now these are not native to America, but people raise them and intentionally release them. About thirty years ago I raised some exactly for that purpose. But they are nasty birds—mean and cannibalistic. I couldn’t wait to release them. So after three or four months when they were fully fledged I opened the gate and in a flutter of wings they were gone. I never saw them again. So much for them sticking around so I could look at them. And then, thirty years later there’s not one, but two male pheasants in my yard.

The magpies built a nest in the spring but I think they build several and then choose their favourite. I’d forgotten about this nest because they hadn’t used it.

And the final hidden thing is unknown. Buried under the dump of snow we got this weekend. We got over a foot as you can see on the deck.

I had to shovel a little pee path for my dog. I just spent the morning clearing up the two chicken yards, shoveling gates and waterers open. There was one deep drift at the end of the house that I fell into and you know, if I hadn’t been carrying my shovel I would have had a hard time getting out. Now I’m off to finish the walk and see how bad the drive is. Hopefully my neighbor will come and open the approach for me.

Just last week it was warm enough for me to sit and read on the deck with my buddy Luther.

How quickly things change.

Wild foraging

This autumn has been just about perfect. So many warm sunny days. The garden has been finished now for quite a while, just some rubble to tidy up.

I’ve been busy canning tomatoes. I had been down to my last couple jars and canned tomatoes are my all time favourite food to preserve from the garden. I had a bumper crop of tomatoes too, which I didn’t really realize until I began picking.

You can see the color difference between my red and orange tomatoes. Both are yummy!!

I also had a bumper crop of peppers even though my jalapeños were a failure. My sister gifted me most of her crop of poblanos, cayenne and jalapeños. I wanted to make a fermented hot sauce.

I washed and chopped a couple pounds of peppers then added the brine. I left them on the counter and by day four they were happily burbling away. I threaded a batch of the Hungarian hot peppers and hung them in the greenhouse to dry. I want to powder them. And the remainder is ripening in the pantry. I may try a different hot sauce.

The corn was late but really a surprisingly good harvest. I even managed to put away quite a few bags in the freezer.

The red peppers which did not ripen on the plant, began to ripen after I picked them. For the first time ever I decided that rather than try to keep them fresh for as long as possible, always feeding them to the chickens after they spoilt, I would chop and freeze for use in chili during the winter.

I also had lots of herbs in the garden that just never got used properly. I made up a batch of pesto to use up my basil. One batch made a few small containers which in the dead of winter will make a nice meal.

My sister also had a nice variety in her garden so I made a few batches of herb salt. I picked a variety of complimentary herbs, whizzed them up in the food processor with sea salt and then dried the result in the oven. The house smelled quite grassy for several days but the result was well worth it.

And in between feverishly trying to preserve my garden harvest, my sister and I went out wild foraging for berries. We’d spotted a hawthorn bush while out looking for high bush cranberries. I picked a bunch and dehydrated them for tea in the winter

Then we wanted to try buffalo berries. There are two varieties of buffalo berries, red and yellow, the red being much more common. They are saponins, soap berries, but have been eaten by the indigenous people for years. Not eaten by buffalo, but with buffalo meat as an accompaniment, hence their name. They are really a bugger to pick, the berries are close to the branch which is thorny. I said a few bad words while picking these.

My sister deep into a buffalo berry bush. They are thorny buggers. You can see the beautiful North Saskatchewan river and all the smoky haze from the California fires.

Both the red and yellow berries produced this milky/soapy looking liquid and the resulting jelly of both was a golden yellow. We only picked enough for a few jars, just enough to taste. The red jelly was superior to the yellow, with a very pleasant fruity tart flavour. I might make it again.

We also picked chokecherries. These purple berries hang in heavy clusters that are very easy picking. Like the buffalo berries they are best after a frost when they sweeten considerably.

I was trying to use up all the odd jars sitting on my counter hence the rather strange assortment of sizes and shapes. My favourite bits are the dregs from the canning kettle that I get to eat right away 😊. This chokecherry jelly is lovely in yogurt and my daughter has been using it as a sauce with her chicken!! I’m glad I made more than a few jars!!

And last but not least I went out before the RM mower came by to mow the ditches and picked a pail of wild rose hips. We’d just had a couple inches of rain and the picking was easy, the rose hips nice and clean. I dehydrated these too for winter tea!!

The colors are just so lovely this fall. Con trails are few and far between—it was such a shock to see one the other day I had to snap a pic.

And finally, just a cat in a box!! Because, why not 😊

And just like that summer’s over

I heard them early this morning, honking as they flew overhead. The geese are heading south. How does that happen so fast?!? It was just yesterday when I was complaining how summer was late coming and just like that, it’s over.

We had our hottest temperatures last week and just as I was about to water the garden for the first time!! this summer—poof. No water. That was a Saturday night. Sunday I hauled water and Monday I called the repair guys. They came out bright and early and on THE hottest day slogged up and down the hill to the well to fix whatever was the problem. End of day the boys were all wilty and exhausted but I still had no water. I hauled again cause everyone was thirsty. Tuesday morning they came back out and replaced the pump and voila, water again. I went and emptied all the water dishes, scrubbed them and refilled with lovely fresh cold water. I filled my bathtub on the lawn and for the next few days had cool refreshing evening soaks. And watered the garden.

The hummingbirds are still here, buzzing me in the garden. They’ll be leaving soon. They’ve been sucking down prodigious amounts of sugar water from the feeders, preparing for their long flight south.

There’s at least two of them, I think they’re babies. The adults supposedly left for the south a few weeks ago. These guys are bickering and fighting and chasing each other all over the yard —so much fun to watch.

I picked up some kale seeds several weeks ago to try to grow for a fall crop. I’ve never grown kale before. I knew it was part of the cabbage family but it wasn’t till I saw cabbage moths fluttering about them that I clued in and covered them up. Too late. I went out this morning and look what I found!!

Aaaarrrrhg!!!!!

I picked off everything I could find, waffling thru the plants to knock off all the worms. Then I had to decide the cruelest manner of disposing of the buggers—squishing them!! Drowning them!! Or feeding them to the chickens!! The chickens won out. But they weren’t too impressed. Maybe they don’t like kale?!? Anyway I hope the plants recover—I’ll have to go keep checking them now for worms.

I’ve picked my onions and put them out to dry. Not as big a harvest as I had hoped but not bad.

And the cherry tomatoes are just not quitting. I bought a second hand dehydrator and dehydrated several trays of tomatoes. I marinated them in olive oil, garlic and basil from the garden, with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Yummy!!

Three big trays didn’t really amount to much but I’ve done three batches now and there’s more to come. I had some on pasta for lunch the other day—so good!!

I tried the corn again this morning. It’s been so slow maturing. The silk has been brown now for ten days or so but the cobs were very immature and very starchy. My usual variety, a hybrid, is not being produced anymore by the seed company so I had to choose another variety. I’d been growing my favourite for over twenty years. You can’t save the seed so I was very disappointed when they told me it was no longer available. This was the suggested replacement. Today I had hope it might amount to something. I stripped a cob and gave half to my daughter. I devoured my half—sweet and juicy, no starch. Not quite ready but in a couple days should be perfect. My daughter only took a bite, not having developed the taste for sweet raw corn right in the garden.

I tried cucamelons too this year. I’m not terribly impressed. Not sweet, very strong cucumber flavour but oh so pretty.

See the size difference between the full sized cuke in the background??

And my vanilla beans, which I ordered waaay back in March finally arrived. A covid purchase. Ugandan beans. I have lots of Mexican vanilla, having asked everyone I know who was going there on holiday to bring me back a bottle. These beans were destined to make different sort of extract. I wanted some in an orange liqueur and some in spiced rum.

The beans were only in the alcohol for a few minutes and already the alcohol was changing color. I put the bottles away in the back of the cupboard to steep till the new year when I hope they will have turned into extract. And not to waste all the oils from the beans inside the plastic bag, I put a cup of sugar in there, rubbed it around and set aside for a few weeks to make vanilla sugar.

The big dog joined me in the garden this morning. She’s getting old. Her official name is Queen but we usually just call her Big Dog. She lived in the back with the sheep and now lives with the goats. She starting to move slower and slower as she ages. She won’t come in the house and I’m just dreading the time when I won’t let her struggle thru another Saskatchewan winter. But for now, she’s living a good life!!

Heat wave

Well there is absolutely no doubt that it’s summer. After the rain the mozzies invaded. I bought a head net but haven’t actually needed it yet. There is no bug spray anywhere in town but I have my trusty stash and after a liberal application it’s possible to be outside for a short while. I can see why the caribou up north run and run until they drop or dive off a cliff to get away from the bugs. It is enough to drive a person insane. And then at night there’s the few that have hidden in folds of clothing and snuck into the house. Always always they bite the most sensitive spot, the tip of your nose or ear or ankle, so that you’re slapping and twitching deep into the night.

The temperatures have been very high, and combined with the humidity, it’s pretty tropical. The garden is just loving it!! I have been making good use of my “pool” on the front lawn. Filled from the well (water temperature about 2 degrees), it only takes a day in the sun to warm up enough that I can soak in it to cool off.

The view from my tub!!!

Under the water the mozzies weren’t too bad but they drove me inside yesterday. Maybe I was out at the wrong time but they were everywhere—extremely crazy making!!!

There’s been lots of new life in the farm as the broodies are finally earning their keep. Several clutches of polish and guinea chicks hatched. My daughter and I set up an old steel water trough in the barn. We lined it with a tarp, covered it with mesh and wire panels so the cats couldn’t get in and set up the heat lamp. Home sweet home 😊

Little polish chick with his marshmallow hat!!
They love their dirt and greens, playing tug of war with the clover.

My daughter captured these two pictures of our resident deer. She’s so pretty out in the canola.

This was such a great shot as she’s leaping so high with her legs tucked up!! Looks like she’s flying!! There are just so many times I wish I had a better camera.

She’s down in the valley now with her fawn but the mosquitos are bothering her too!! I hear her snorting and puffing and shaking her head.

The tomatoes are starting to ripen in the garden. This was my last store bought tomato. What do you suppose they do to them that makes them sprout before they rot?!? I don’t even know why I try, hope springs eternal I suppose. I can never eat them from the store, they are completely tasteless.

This is just so creepy!!

We had a big boomer of a storm. Lost power for most of the night and again thru the next morning. What a light show!! Caught one flash through the bedroom window!!

We got some hail. Not terrible but enough to shred leaves and pock-mark the tomatoes. I think things will recover. The ditch flowers are also loving the heat and humidity.

Aren’t they just such happy colors!!
Not quite a “dead skunk in the middle of the road”, but a baby. He and a sibling were after something in the middle of the road for several days, till the inevitable happened, and one got squished. Just as long as the mommy doesn’t bring them to visit my chickens.

Now, out to do some weeding (actually just an excuse to putter around the garden). Hard to believe it’s August already!!

Things that go bump in the night…

A noise woke me up last night… not that I was sleeping very soundly what with the cat hunting my toes and the dog snoring.. but I heard it. A huffing noise. Right outside the window on the front lawn. Again and again. I recognized it immediately. It was a deer. I tried to quietly sneak over to the window but the dog heard it too and barked. The winter laser light I use as a night light (it’s out on the deck and I shine it on my ceiling—it looks like green stars or lightening bugs and I like it) blinded me, so I went to the living room window. Too late…as I knew it would be. But we saw her across the valley early this morning with her baby 💕💕.

My daughter took this photo from my bedroom window one evening, about 10:30ish when I was snoring. You can see the green bits of light from my laser. This is where the deer would have been.

I heard that huffing noise from my sheep quite often. It’s an alarm call often accompanied by stomping feet. It can be quite loud. Not so long ago my daughter and I watched a doe stomping and huffing at a fox!! Very loud and she was very angry.

Summer is moving on so much faster than I’d like. It seemed to take forever to get to June and now here it is, halfway thru July. How does that happen?!?

My little ride-on mower has had a slow leak in the rear tire since last year. Not a big deal. I’d inflate it with the air compressor and it would be good till the next time I mowed. But the compressor takes so long to fill, and it’s noisy and I really just wanted to mow!!! Not fart around getting ready. So after the last mow I jacked it up and tried to remove the tire. The small bolt and washer came right out…now just to pull the rim off the axel. Hah!!! Best laid plans.

Well, I pulled and I tugged..I sprayed it with WD40… I resorted to bashing it from the inside, rotating the tire every few smacks. No movement at all. I asked at various tire shops, my fix-everything neighbor, and no one had any ideas. So then I looked it up on YouTube. Of course there were handy men with solutions!! One trick was to heat the rim with a torch. All these fellas had the big acetylene tiger torches. I just had a little propane torch. But I tried it. Success!!

I had to bash it a few more times…look how the end of my pipe deformed with the bashing—I’ll have to smooth that out, it’s quite sharp!! And then I wire brushed the rust off the axel. Putting the repaired tire back on was a piece of cake. I’m happy to report that now, several mowings later, the tire is holding up very well 😊

I took advantage of the kids being home for the weekend. I got them to go around the yard with the whippersnipper to tidy the edges.

Now it looks like humans may actually live here 😊

And then I decided it was time to wash the smut off the back of the house. North facing, the sun never shines of this side and some weird type of mossy lichen mold thing was growing there. I borrowed a pressure washer and look at the difference.

We then got interrupted by 36 hours of steady rain.

7 1/2 inches in 36 hours!!
Look how the rain made ripples in the yard!!

But the garden and flowers are just loving it!!

These little brown lilies came from my mother’s house. First time they’ve bloomed since I moved them.
Love these bright colors—I think I’m going to knit something with these colors—so happy !!
Brown eyed Susan’s in the ditch.
I found this little wood frog in my strawberries. I’m thinking he was loving the rain!!

It’s been showering off and on the past few days. I have to finish washing the back of the house then get on the mower. Summer is just too darn short.

How does your garden grow…

I was so pessimistic earlier this year that we were going to have the worst growing season ever. That wind!!! 90 k/hr one day, 85 the next… first one direction, then the other. But things have turned out quite well considering. The tomatoes are all bursting out of their protective coverings and are loaded with blossoms.

I love the way the guineas cruise thru the garden I’m not sure what nasty bugs they are eating but they are devouring something with great gusto.

They were starting to pluck at the Swiss chard so I fenced it off. Not much of a barrier if they really wanted in but so far so good.

I spotted this absolutely gorgeous creature in my yellow rose. Apparently it is a cuckoo wasp, known for laying its eggs in other wasps homes. That color 💕💕💕

I don’t have many flowers in the garden. But they are all showing off at being happy!!

Beautiful volunteer Johnny jump-ups. They self seed and pop up all over the garden.
Bleeding hearts…can’t imagine where that name came from 😜
Love the dewy droplets on this strawberry leaf!!
The columbine is almost finished. I loved picking the petals as a child to get the drop of nectar at the tip. I just leave it for the hummingbirds now.
The peony’s are just starting—they smell soooo good.
The yellow day lilies are just opening up.
The Maltese cross is just starting too—the hummingbirds just love it!!
I’m making a flavoured vinegar from the chive blossoms for summer salads.

So I got ambitious a couple weeks ago and decided to wash the porch mats. But something went wrong and I got an error code on the washer. It wouldn’t drain. The repair man was going to be a week so my daughter and I watched a couple of YouTube videos on repairing washing machines and decided to do it ourselves. First we had to shut the water off in the pump house then drain the pressure system. We pulled the machine out and opened it up. My daughter did her best Cullogen man impersonation and we found that the non slip backing on the rug had peeled off and totally plugged the boot at the drain.

Blah!!!

But we cleaned everything out and put it all back together. Success!! Except the taps were dripping. So we had to then change those!!

Once you close them off they just never seem to work properly.
So we replaced them with brand newy ones 😊

Such a great feeling to be somewhat self sufficient. A few hundred dollars stayed in our pockets and we know a little bit more about the guts of the washing machine!!

Finally, today my daughter took her dad for a pony ride as a belated Father’s Day gift. It was a perfect day, calm, cool and just slightly drizzly.

Louis the wonder pony!!

They spotted our provincial flowers blooming in the ditch!!

Beautiful tiger lilies!!

As I was out in the garden I noticed it could do with some weeding—so I’d best get to it!! 😊

The wind…the wind…

Way back when I was a child, about a hundred years ago, my folks bought a cottage at the lake. It was truly a magical place. My sister and I swam like fish from very early on, thanks to my dad, and we spent hours in the water. Evenings were spent down on the landing in front of a crackling fire, roasting marshmallows and listening to my dad tell us stories about Greek gods, old legends and fairytales. A very few stories of his own childhood. At bed time, after teeth brushing, we listened to the CBC radio drama. Only one has stuck with me after all these years, a story about a group of people trapped in an isolated house listening to the wind howling thru the wires. Way back then most of the power lines were above ground (now they are buried) and the sound of wind thru the wires is something that once heard cannot be unheard. Like the sound of boots crunching through snow at -30. A uniquely prairie sound. Anyway, in the radio drama, the sound of the wind howling slowly drove the people mad.

This spring we have had wind like I cannot remember. Sure, early spring we get a few days of wind, just before the leaves pop out. I always thought the wind was helping to bring the leaves out. But this year has been unbelievable. I belong to quite a few gardening sites and people’s gardens had been taking a real beating. Tomatoes, peppers and cukes broken off, replanted and then lost again in the next wind. First blowing one way then the next day blowing back the other way. My yard is fairly sheltered yet my poor little peppers are taking such a beating.

The tomatoes I’ve planted in plastic pails which I’ve cut the bottoms out of so they are doing all right and cukes I start from seed so they are just at the two leaf stage. But being outside in wind gusting to 70-90 k is not pleasant. Just the sound of it from inside the house is slowly driving me mad. This year of 2020 must truly be the worst ever, pandemic, riots and wind!!

So we’ve had some babies born?!? Hatched!! Every spring my hens, which are all heritage breeds, go broody. Not just ordinary broody but crazy broody. We’ve been slipping eggs under them but in the fight to get into the “favourite” box, eggs have been crushed, flung out of the nest and chicks that have hatched don’t have a chance.

We’ve tried putting the growlers, ( yes hens do growl—they’re the crazy broody ones) into a safe isolated place but they immediately lose the will to brood. But finally we’ve had a bit of luck, and one silkie hen hatched out a couple of guinea chicks and one of the big orpingtons hatched out a few polish chicks.

We generally don’t call any hatched chick alive until it’s at least partially feathered out and the guineas definitely are not alive until they are fully fledged. Their predilection for dying is legendary. As it is we have already lost one guinea chick, simply vanished and two of the other chicks. Unbelievable. They are in a safe contained stall in the barn—where’d they go?? Beamed up by aliens?!? Blown away by the wind?!?

I have a feeder set up on the deck as I like to see the birds come to eat. Love the bright pop of yellow of this little American goldfinch, and the wood peckers are my favourites.

And with the wind, I’m staying indoors more than I like. But I’ve been knitting—just finished a fisherman’s kep, in a knit-along from a site in Fair Isle. I’m disappointed in the colors, looks muddy to me but it fits and will be a bright pop of color next winter doing chores.

Luther has been keeping me company while I knit.

And finally my spring treat—marillenknoedle. Apricot dumplings. Nothing says spring is here quite like the first apricots.

What’s your favourite spring treat?