Sunday, June 29, 2008

From Here to There and Back Again

I have been wanting to see what the N.E. corner of our property looks like on the ground. I have seen google map shots but have never stood on the ground. Armed with my Garmin 60 Cx and trusty pathfinder dog Xena off we went. There is a small lake about a mile away I have never seen and I wanted to see what the joint looked like from the top of some cliffs a half a mile away to the East so we added them all to the trip.

This is the route I took:

And the google maps version:

The red numbers in the snag show which of the pictures below were taken. If you want to go along on this hike I would suggest a change of socks. Long sleeve shirts and pants that go all the way down. Like to the boots. Long legged I mean. Not what you were thinking. the elevation change isn't a lot but there is a fair bit of bushwacking.

(1) This is the little unnamed lake that was on the itinerary. Surrounded by 200 feet of muskeg. Definatly not any good as a swimming lake. Altho Xena the wonder dog would argue with that making several attempts to introduce herself to the neighborhood ducks.
(2) Xena the wonder dog looking over the cliff to our house about a half mile off as the crow flies.

(3) I zoomed the picture a bit so I could get a view of the joint I haven't seen before. While I was taking pictures of the spread, Jo-Ann was down below with a long lens on her camera taking pictures of the "kids" up on the cliff.
(4) The view West. This is the direction I came from. For those geological enthusiasts the rock looked like a quartz monzonite.

On the way down I managed to pick up an old skid road and then just follow the Garmin's advice and emerged at our East fence line. The forest was covered with a large variety of late spring plants. Cows Parsnip in abundance. It looks like it was harder slogging than it was.

When I emerged into our fields I was struck by this Columbine which I had just been reading about before the hike:
Jo-Ann's favorites are these Camomiles so I snapped a shot or two for her:
Finally in sight of the house.
(8) This last one is the view of the cliffs from the house:

This is a zoomed in Version Jo-Ann took with her 300mm zoom:

I was reluctant to take Xena on the trip thinking that she might not be up to it. Let's just say at the end of the trip one of us was looking for more and it wasn't me. Well Maybe:

She dove in every pond and puddle along the way. She also had un canny ability to find the route. We were on old overgrown roads and I was thrashing through the brush while she just went through like she knew where she was going. Finally I bent down to her level and I was amazed to see how visible a trail was from her view point and obliterated at mine by all the brush.

My dog taught me another lesson today. And that kipper snacks on hot rocks are just about the best thing a dog ever ate.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tired of it All

Well lotsa tires anyway. We spent the day weeding out the garden and re planting the tires that had been chocked with pig weed. This is the North end of the garden with a view across the valley. The plywood holds the timers, the white pipes encircle the shut off and isolator valves for the garden and the black conduit is the water and power for the soon to be moved chicken/green house.
The cabbages and squash are doing well. I am taking the lids off during the day but at night I put them back on to hold in some of the heat. The spuds have grown over the tops so they get to chance it. Soon -like the next couple of days the tomatoes will have to survive the night without tops as they have overgrown the tire stacks. If I go higher I won't be able to reach in to weed.
This is the infamous pig weed. Fortunately it is very easy to weed as it doesn't have a big root system when it is small. But it is a prolific grower and easily crowded out the white onions for light domination. It is also very tasty. When it is young, like in these tires it is tender. And plentiful. It grows anywhere the soil is "disturbed". The chickens will run over them selves to nibble on it.

Soil wasn't the only thing disturbed when I saw how overgrown the tires had become in our absence. Anyway we have it back in shape now. I put red plastic over the surface of all the tomatoes and black geotextile in all the tires that have squash.

That should kill the weeds and keep the soil a bit warmer. Apparently the red plastic also makes the tomatoes grow faster and procuce more fruit. It seems to be working judging by the ones I did before we went to the Coast. The spuds didn't need any mulching for weeds as they are drip irrigated and only the spud plant gets any moisture.
We bought a cherry and two apple trees at a local nursery.

I thought I would just dig three quick holes and stick them in. Well as it turns out I needed to downgrade my time estimate once again. The holes need to be three times as big as the pot the tree comes in. We also made up a bunch of potting type soil to help amend the clay ground we put them in. The cherry actually had some green fruit on it. It's a Evans Cherry.
Always nice to get an acknowledgement for our efforts isn't it..

Boose the cat was foreman on the job. Here's a picture of her momentarilly distracted by a bird.
It's overcast today. Perfect for a little jaunt.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cold Weather Gardening

This is a picture Jo-Ann took at 7 a.m. this morning. She says it was a degree colder when she first noticed it. She put the furnace on which means it was fairly nippy in the house too. According to my calendar it's the end of June. Walking outside rates a light jacket or heavy insulated shirt.

Yet the grass still grows. I see a profusion of wild strawberries everywhere and camomile starting to turn areas of the pastures white.

No wonder the tumbler tomatoes in the hanging baskets don't seem to be doing well. It think today they come down and go in the tire garden for a warm vacation.

This weekend I am going to go on a hike to the North East corner of the property as I haven't seen it yet. A neighbor tells me there is another gravel pit there. I can always use that stuff.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's a winning combination

Actually it's a combine. When we were coming through Fraser Lake two nights ago we noticed that our combine was parked in the museum parking lot. We had donated it to the museum so that others could enjoy it. I don't know how old it is but I have never seen one that was built with wood so I think it goes back a few years.

Now that it's gone it frees up the "Red Shed" so that I can move it over to the garden for use as a green/house winter chicken house. I have water and power over there so I will be able to install some grow lights and a wood stove.

It is hovering around a cold windy 9C here today (48.2 F.)The covers stay on the tires today. I will have to add some more to my Tomatoes as they are over 2 feet tall and growing. The spuds are growing great guns. I planted some spuds in a large plant container on our balcony and it is only a couple of inches high compared to the couple of feet in the tires. Quite a difference. I Heard that some gardens were lost to frost in Burns lake, about 50 miles West of here. What ever happened to global warming? A bigger problem here is global cooling. According to the geological records that's really where we are going. This warming is a temporary blip before another big freeze.

We are in scurry flung mode as an elder from a local reserve is coming to do a ceremony here to cleanse any bad vibes from our house. I really am in a "spiritual kindergaden".

We don't have any cattle grazing here as the farmer who was grazing them here was having trouble with our neighbors bulls getting into the herd.So the grass is pretty high. Beautiful when it sways in waves with the wind. Our North side and part of the East side has no good fencing so the herds just mix. On the list. I am trying to get some bids from fencing contractors for about a mile of fencing. Or I just may end up doing it myself. I want to put up a good 5 wire fence, 12 foot spacing with two spacers between posts. A lot of work. Time to prioritize. I have a fence around our immediate housing area so don't really need one around the whole place but I am toying with the idea of getting some more livestock. The chickens just got me started. I am following a fellow blogger returned to farming: Ethan Book the beginning farmer and learning a lot. He's been a real inspiration. He's cost me a few bucks at Amazon with his great farming book reviews.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Home Again

We got back from a trip to the Coast that lasted a lot longer than we had planned. While we were at the coast I got word that an elderly Aunt had passed away in Flin Flon Manitoba. I had an Auntie and uncle living in Summerland who wanted to go to the service but weren't up to the drive so I chauffeured them to Manitoba.

I haven't had a lot of contact with my Auntie's so it was a wonderful experience getting re-acquainted and catching up on some family history I hadn't been aware of. She didn't hold the fact that our moose was named after her against me!

When I was in Creighton, which is just on the Saskatchewan side of the border, I re-did a hike of an trek went on when I was eight. At the time I thought it was a world class Marco Polo adventure that took all of a long Northern summer day and felt like a 50 mile hike. Well according to google maps it was only about 2 kilometers as the crow flies and about 6 to avoid the muskeg and walk on the ubiquitous rocky outcrops. But I still was an eight year old grinning from ear to ear.

Pictures later today. I have to switch from my Linux side to XP to do that.

Hard to get lost anywhere within sight of that 800 foot smoke stack. I think you can see it 30 miles away.

We had some one taking care of our place while we were gone. At least we thought we did. We came back to a house that had been ransacked and cleaned out of a fair bit of money and other personal stuff. Thankfully the T.V. and computer equipment are still here.

We are still doing an inventory of what's missing. A weird feeling to know that some one has been through all our stuff, opening boxes and snooping around. Everywhere, even in the freezers. Just creepy. I lead a clean and sober life and have for 21 years so it's a bit of a shock to see a pair of scissors and a mirror from my bathroom in the living room with dope smell and residue on them.

Other than that incident, which has really shaken my faith and made me question my judgment about people, It was great to get back.

The garden has been growing like crazy. The drip irrigation performed. When we get back from town today and a trip to the police station, I will be weeding it while Jo-Ann is dunging out the house with a can of disinfectant. And then a look at the project list.

But first I want to watch Xena the wonder dog run around in sheer joy at the wide open spaces. And pet the cats.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On the Road again, and again

I know I haven't been updating my blog for a while. I have been down to the coast and then off across country ferrying one of my Aunts and her husband to Flin Flon Manitoba for a service for another Aunt who passed.

I used to think the life of a road warrior would be an exiting one. I also wanted to sail around the world in a ferro-cement sailboat. Both fantasy's are now squashed. After this It's back to Summerland B.C. and then home.

I have a friend of mine baby-sitting the joint and singing ballads to the chickens but I can't wait to get back and see if the radishes are up..Knew I should have installed a web cam..