Monday, July 30, 2012

Home Again

We got back last week, Wednesday night, and it├Ęs been busy, busy, busy since.
Picking beans, cutting beans, blanching beans... About 9 gallons so far. My back aches. My legs ache. My thumb aches. Why do I love beans? We'll be well fed and organic this winter!
My hugelkultur bean bed is an overgrown tangled mess of beans. The dry beans in the centre are still flowering, which means I can't let any of the green beans go to seed yet.
While I was gone, Husband, the Littles, and my parents all picked beans. They all agreed, I planted too many beans! lol.

The greenhouses have filled out.  I'm yanking the squash plants out of greenhouse #1.  The corn is touching the roof in there, with tassels on.  That's the sweet corn.  No ears yet.  Peppers are filled out and lush, with tons of flowers.  Green tomatoes everywhere.  Pickling cukes are producing, and I canned two jars so far.  Beets and mangels are huge. Peas are still producing. I feel like I'm in some alternate universe where the garden overproduces. It's amazing!  And most amazing- the weeds did not go crazy while I was away!  Except the perennial bed.  It's a disaster.
We're out of potatoes, so I thought we should just dig up a couple of volunteers for supper the other night, before the tops die off and I can't find them. 5 plants produced this bounty. That's more than we got out of 4 feet of hilled rows last year. We'll keep harvesting these to eat fresh until I run out of volunteer plants. There might be enough to get us through til fall.

The puppies grew like bad weeds while I was away.
That's my boy Smitty, laying with his mom. He's still smaller than the rest, but just as spunky and adventurous.
Wonder and a bunch of her little ones. 5 of the pups left to go to new homes yesterday. Brownie, Belle, Miley, Giligan and Goldie. That leaves us with one black female, Shaniqua, and two tan males, Shaggy and Sam, who need homes. And they're just 8 weeks old today! Pinky will be staying with us as well.
Our trip was good. Lots of visiting, family we haven't seen in a while. No surgery for #1. It was found to be ineffective, and they've stopped doing it. He's three letters shy of being legal to drive right now. They've recommended rigid contact lenses. Because they'll scrape his eye lids and annoy him, his brain may tell his eyes to slow down, which might get him over the edge. and practicing the letter charts, at a distance, to help strengthen the muscles. We have to go back in six months so he can be retested. Oh joy. Winter driving on a long trip. I think I may let Husband take him on that one.

 The Littles did great while I was gone. Grandma had to wake them up once, and Husband had to do a few repairs, but they survived, the critters survived, the garden survived. All is well.
#2 returned from camp on Saturday.  He was a little home sick, but now he's missing camp.  Go figure.  He figures he grew a couple of inches, but I don't find it as noticeable this year.  Probably because he was already towering over me when he left.  It's good to have him home!

Monday, July 16, 2012

And Another One Bites The Dust

I am beginning to think the universe is trying to tell me to give up on technology.  I am now using #1's lap top connected to my monitor, because #4 knocked it on the floor a couple of weeks ago and cracked the screen.  (My computer still hasn't been replaced.  And will now be on hold longer, because #1's is more important- large screen and set up for his visual needs.)  I had been using the kids computer, which has become infected with the ransomware virus.  If Husband can't get it sorted out, it'll have to go in to see a tech.  What a pain in the arse. 

Shaggy- napping on top of a blanket, on top of the paint cans, on top of the wood stove platform.  King of the hill.  The puppies have discovered a hole at the back of the garage where they can crawl underneath to beat the heat.  Getting out though- not so easy.  There's a small hole at the front where they can see everyone, but can't fit through.  It takes some cajoling to convince them to turn around and come back out through the back.  Turds.

The peas are producing nicely.  They've reached the top of the fence, still flowering, still growing.  I've convinced the cucumbers to start climbing.  They're also flowering.  Beans are flowering like mad, with the first little pods starting to appear.  Blueberries are coming along, although it doesn't look like they'll have a good season.  That late frost may have killed off some flowers.  It's a bit early yet, but the lack of green berries concerns me.  Raspberries are just starting to produce.  Rhubarb is still coming along.  And I am leaving.

Pinky running towards me
#1 and I are headed south on Wednesday, in my new car- 1998 VW Beetle- diesel.  He has appointments with the University of Waterloo for assesments, visual exams, technology enhancements, and info about possible surgery.  Then we'll spend a few days visiting with family and friends.  If the heat doesn't kill us.  Or the traffic.  The Littles are staying home to deal with chores.  Wish them luck!  They have Grandma and Grandpa next door to keep an eye on them, and Husband home at night, but the responsibility of farming falls to them.  I hope they're ready for it.

And of course they'll have the wee beasties to attend to as well.  Or entertain them.  The pups are becoming more dog like every day now.  Happy and rambunctious.  It's hard to believe they're only six weeks old.

We've been working on more hugelkultur piles, with the small trees that were trying to take over the back field (where the pumpkins and squash are out of control!) and more manure.  I think the manure levels will be kind of high compared to wood.  We still haven't got the chicken coop cleaned out!  These are more of a 'where are we going to compost this stuff' huggies, rather than true hugelkulturs.

And that's about all of the news here.  I'll be enjoying a couple of cooler days before heading south into the heat wave.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Camp & Chaos

Just a little update...

A trip to the hospital and an x-ray confirmed that my hand was not broken.  Still it took almost a week for the swelling to go down.  They gave me some serious antibiotics, claiming it was infection causing the swelling.  I was bad and quit taking them after a couple of days.  They were making me sick.  I don't believe it was infected anyway.  I think it was the vein being cut wasn't allowing the blood to drain out of my fingers.  Almost good as new now, just a bit of a sore left to heal up.

Cranberry and co have been up visiting for a bit.  Great to see them, and we've been taking some extra play time (in other words, shirking the chores).

Blueberries are starting to ripen.  I haven't started any serious picking yet, just a mouthful here and there.  Rhubarb needs picking again, and raspberries are barely getting started.  It's like the seasons are out of order.

#2 and I spent the night before he left for camp in the hospital.  He hurt his arm helping grandpa place a beam for a shed.  Poor kid.  Not broken, but very sore, probably sprained.
We met the bus at a gas station not too far from our house.  He had two switches to make before getting to camp.  Thankfully he posted to facebook that he made it there, because I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM HIM SINCE!  If he doesn't call by Sunday, I will be calling his CO to find out what's going on!
Almost caught up with the weeding.  See the TALL stuff?  Popcorn!  It's been warm this year, and it's doing great!  One more row of beans to weed, then the onions, and the garden should be back to a manageable state.  Then just to get the greenhouses caught up, and the perennial bed.
See the big empty space?  That's the brassicas.  Few and far between this year.  It's been warm.  Go figure.  The beans are flowering, we have tiny cukes in greenhouse #2,the potatoes are flowering!!  That's a first for us up here!  We're eating peas, leaf lettuce and romaine, and have some lovely little green tomatoes on the way.
These white flowers popped up last year, on the far side of the garden.  They're back this year.
No idea what they are, but pretty.  The previous owner's wife worked at a nursery, and was quite a gardener.  She died several years before he sold the house, and he wasn't much of a gardener.  I figure she's the reason things magically appear in odd spots.
We took Pinky and Gilligan with us to pick up #2s kit supplies before he left.  They were sleeping peacefully when we got there.
And isn't that the cutest greeting when we got back to the car.  Before anyone gets upset- evening, windows down, and we were parked right outside the hangar.  No danger, just cuteness.

The pups are 5 weeks old now, and displaying lots of personality!  I haven't made any definite decisions, but Pinky, Gilligan, Goldie, and Shaggy are in the lead- you know, the troublemakers.  We've been leaving the sunroom door open so the pups can go in and out as they please.  Gilligan was the first to go missing.  Disappeared for about three hours, then emerged from behind the wood shed, yawning, looking for his mom. 

Shaggy, Goldie and Pinky disappeared for about 5 hours.  I was in the garden, and I thought I had heard something on the far side.  #1 went to investigate, but didn't see anything.  The Littles looked all over the house and yard and couldn't find them.  We walked past the yard and the pond, into the trees, trying to find Wonder's path to Grandma's house.  (She goes to visit them on her own every day, and I figured the pups had tried following her).  No sign of them.  #4, Ebony and I cut back to the road and started walking toward the house.  #4 was ahead of me, and turned around to say something, and noticed we were being followed.  I don't know where they had been hiding, but they were trotting along behind me like it was a normal thing to wander off in the woods.  Little buggers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hay on the Way!

Tin is on the lean to.  I still need to climb up and tar over the holes (recycled tin that Husband and the Bigs got) to stop any leaks, but hay is on the way.  There's still some old hay to be moved as well.  We ended up just scraping it out onto the ground to get it done quicker.

Picking up hay.
We put fence wire up around the hay lean-to this year.  Mama and the kids had been sleeping in the old hay, along with the horses when they're on mowing duty.  Now they've moved into the old turkey shack (previous owner's).  You can see Shaq (at the back) is just as tall as Mama now.

Shiloh is coming along great. Still cute as a button, happily munching grass these days.  Still nursing as well.  #2 has taken Knightmare out for a couple of short rides, and Shiloh has accepted being on her own fairly well.  She doesn't like to be tied, but otherwise is doing well with the lead.

The Littles and I went out to trim chicken wings yesterday morning.  We've had a couple hop the fence and not make it back to the coop over night, which isn't safe for them.  I caught a hen, and just as I was picking her up, the rooster attacked me.  Spur to the back of my right hand, right across the vein.  That left me pretty useless for hay yesterday.  It's still swollen today, but doesn't hurt nearly as bad.  Rooster's name is now Asshole.  I couldn't even trim their wings afterward, couldn't work the scissors.  The Bigs had to take over for me, while Husband poured a gallon of peroxide on my hand and bandaged me up.

More hay today, then off to the park.  Happy Canada Day!