It’s been quite a while since my last post. Most things have bounced back since the late frost but are at least two weeks behind last year. Oh well, sigh. We’ve had pretty cool June with lots of rain. I’m not complaining because I don’t like the heat and humidity so the longer this pleasant weather lasts, the happier I’ll be.
Anyway, I’ve posted a few pictures and will be taking more. The shots you see of who-knows-what are the shots I’ve taken of my latest project which is carving the steps down to the valley. I can’t do too much at once. I find it very taxing what with swinging the heavy pickaxe and shovelling the dirt out of the way. And let’s not forget the rocks. It seems under every rock is another rock. There’s lots of earth too. I had thought the earth would be crappy but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a rich, black loam. It will be fun planting out with no-work perennials. It will have to be groundcovers and plants that don’t need fussing. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Initial carving out the hill
Hibiscus in Bloom
So there you have it. My humble attempt to bring beauty into my environment. It’s a work in progress. So much more to do but can only do so much at a time. I guess this project will be completed the day I die. I will attempt to take it with me when the time comes.
Oh, today we’re cooking but two days ago we had nighttime temperatures drop to -3C. That’s about 28F. We had covered the annuals with newspaper. Despite that, many died anyway. When I inspected my garden the morning after the freeze, my heart broke. All three Giant White Fleeceflowers collapsed to the ground. I’m sure the roots are fine and maybe they’ll spring back next year but that’s it for this year.
Walking around, the devastation was widespread. My purple smoke bush had leafed out but all those leaves looked burnt and drooped. Who knows if the rest will leaf out. Some of the leaves on the Japanese Maple were hit, others weren’t. Parts of my Hydrangeas were burned from the frost.
In the vegetable garden, about 30% of the newly sprouted beans died. That’s OK. I’m on my way out there and I’ll pull those and plant more.
To make matters worse, we’re having a drought. Hell, we’re now having July weather and it’s only May. I don’t know what will become of all this.
So, today bright and early I went into the garden. Charlie had bought several bags of black earth, peat moss, and composted sheep manure as well as 5 bags of triple mix.
First on the agenda was the vegetable garden. It’s important to get the cool vegetables seeded so I threw the five bags of triple mix as well as my own concoction of black earth, peat, and manure. After raking and smoothing I proceeded to create rows and commence with the seeding. So, now I’m happy because it’s done. Well, at least the cool weather crops and to be precise, here they are; snow peas, radishes, lettuce, beets, several herbs and kale.
Charlie installed the new window boxes. It will be at least another two to three weeks before I can plant them out. Until then, the seedling flowers seem to be doing well in the greenhouse. I’m even trying to grow a banana plant for my big pot. Hopefully it will develop over the next few weeks. It will be my thriller, and I have quite a few flowers which will be my filler and spiller.
Autumn into winter is a beautiful transition. Winter into Spring is not. What with the frost coming out of the ground and all the snow melting not to mention the crud on the roads from the salters and sanders. But it’s nice anyway. The windows are open and the heat is turned off. It won’t be long, the windows will once again be closed and the air-conditioning on. Extremes in temperatures, that’s the norm here in Southern Ontario.
How is it where you are?
Last weekend I worked like a dog. Well, Saturday I worked like a dog. Sunday, Charlie worked like a dog. I worked too but in a supportive role.
To explain, Saturday I tilled the vegetable bed. Pulling weeds and turning over soil is very hard work so I felt stiff and sore that night and I had trouble sleeping even after taking pain killers. But it’s done.
Sunday, we moved three hydrangea bushes because they weren’t doing well where they were plus I wanted to enjoy them closer to the house. We also moved three globe cedars and one cedar tree.
I’d take pictures of our progress but nothing is blooming yet and photographing baren gardens is boring. It won’t be long, though. We’re nearing the end of April and come May, everything will change. For now we’re getting lots of rain which is good for the garden and also because my sistern will be filled up again.
Now you know all about my exciting life.
The window boxes are constructed, lined and stained. I found out that Canadian Tire doesn’t carry lumber. I felt like an idiot asking their staff where they kept lumber. (No wonder they looked at me funny.) However, just down the road from Canadian Tire is Rona and they do sell lumber etc. They cut the boards to size, we brought them home, Charlie glued and screwed them together, I stained them and we both lined them with heavy gauge plastic to protect the wood from rotting. So now we wait for good weather so we can install them which reminds me, I still have to buy 4 legs and 6 brackets. The big window box is 7 feet long. Once the soil and plants are in, it will need more than just brackets for support. That’s why we need the legs as well. I used a stain called “Witch’s Broom”. It’s dark – charcoal. I gave them 4 coats. I use the same stain for the porches. I like almost black. It makes everything pop.
Today our contractor “Big Dog” delivered the shingles. He’s called by his Mohawk name. Great guy. Does excellent work. Later, they’ll bring the scaffolding to re-roof the house. It’s always something, isn’t it?
We thought it would never come but all things do end. Anyway, beautiful sunny winter days won’t be around for a while now. Spring is very nice but until all the snow has melted and the frost is out of the ground it’s messy and dirty. However, good spring rains will wash the dirt away and help the ground thaw. Meanwhile, leave your boots outside the house, preferably outside the porch.
I’ve sown seeds in pots. This time it’s only flower seeds for my window boxes. They’ve germinated and now I hope they’ll grow into nice plants ready for transplanting. I still have to buy the materials for constructing window boxes. I’m attempting to do it myself. At Canadian Tire they will cut to size, I’m told. I must remember to get stainless steel nails or screws. Then I have to line them with something so the wood won’t rot and I have to paint them and I also need brackets to attach to the house. Doesn’t sound like much but it’s a lot of work. Also, I have to stain the two porches this year again. And I haven’t even mentioned the gardens yet.
Well, I did squat all winter so time to get ready for sweaty work.
It’s still cold and snowy but change will be coming soon.
What’s that in Fahrenheit? Minus 16 Fahrenheit. That’s not so cold. What’s everybody yammering about? Well, most of the yammering is coming from the Toronto stations. What a bunch of whiners. They are too lah-di-dah for me sometimes.
Well, look who’s talking. I’ve been hibernating most of the winter making my soups and stews and watching Netflix. But, you don’t hear me complaining.
I’ve thought of joining the snowbirds and flying south for the winter. I don’t know. Where would we go? Somewhere more interesting than Florida, I hope. Besides sitting on the beach and going out for dinner, what would we do?
What about Portugal. Or Italy. You know – somewhere warm. Of course, that would involve getting on a plane.
Or, I could just stay home.
There’s no getting around it. Freshly fallen snow under sunny skies is a sight to behold. That is until the snow plows come by and throw all the muck on our property. Then the sanders and the salters do their thing – not once, not twice but with every snowfall. The trick is to get out there and take pictures before their appearance. Of course, that’s not always possible because these services run 24/7.
Well, it’s not that bad. They’re doing their job so we can drive safely on our roads without slipping and sliding all over the place. In the Spring another set of trucks roll by vacuuming up the sand that invariably gathers by the side of the road. That’s when you know Spring is really here.
Unfortunately, we often get grey skies and it doesn’t snow every day. Whether our furry weatherman, Wiarton Willie sees his shadow or not, it’s still six weeks of winter.
I’m not really complaining. I like evenings spent by the fire watching Netflix. I like making soups and stews this time of year. And I like dreaming of the garden and what it will become this Spring. Definitely, the anticipation is better than the reality which is a lot of sweaty work while covered with bug repellant and oh those achy muscles. Despite that, we can’t wait to get dirty. Working in the garden is when I’m happiest. Don’t ask me why. There’s no explanation.
They’re just little now and look a bit sparse but we had to give them room to spread. They come alive in the winter.