Monday, 29 June 2015

Air Quality, and Peony Love

We have had a beautiful stretch of very warm weather (for the Canadian prairies, at least). The trouble for most of us is the weather is a month early and has preceded any amount of seasonal rain. So although we've enjoyed some time at the beach, the 30C heat that we enjoyed all week is actually baking the crops in the fields and turning pastures to dust. If you're a farmer in these parts, you're probably getting worried.

I put the sprinkler on my garden every few days to keep things alive. I am lucky that I don't have to carry buckets of water. But most days I do. I run the sprinkler on the garden to cover more ground but water most of my flowers by pail. We have a couple large totes that I bought from the nearby Hutterite Colony (previously used for canola oil) that I use to catch rain. Then I also have my 3 rain barrels, and they have a bit of water left from the 8/10 rain we had a few weeks ago. Slowly I've used most of it to water my tomatoes and grape vines, and all the perennials near the house. Speaking of those, I'm having some serious love for the peony I planted last year. There are 3 new ones as well, but they haven't bloomed. I was so proud of the hot pink one by my shed....

Until I went to my mom's and saw her pale pink one in all its glory....

I do so love peonies!

It is a smokey, hazy day today--smoke arriving here from fires in northern Saskatchewan. My mind is on my friends there, hoping no homes are threatened and that the fires are soon under control.

It is smokey here, yes, and it is a reminder to treasure the clean air that we normally take for granted. To think of all the people that live in similar haze everyday of their lives...we are truly fortunate to live where we do. How is summer shaping up where you are?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Garden Update, of Sorts

For some reason I'm having a hard time believing we are halfway through June. I have the odd sensation that we somehow missed spring, but I think I know why. Last year in the spring we had no lawn to speak of, just topsoil, and our driveway had exposed clay in places. We got extra gravel and our lawn grew last year so the mud and mess being tracked in was so much more manageable this year. It felt like the season of mud didn't happen, in a way :) add to that the fact that May was unseasonably hot and dry, and it just feels like spring didn't happen. Thankfully, things are growing although we have had minimal rain. We have our big totes in place to use as rain barrels so we can catch every drop of rain possible for use in our yard. 

I got a 6 pack of dahlias at a greenhouse. They are among my favourites but I've had no luck buying and planting the tubers. We had a touch of frost after I planted them out so 5 of them in the apple tree bed look scraggly and forlorn. But this lovely is on my sittin' porch where I can enjoy it everyday. 

My mom has had some success with her incubator, despite power outages and other mishaps. Unfortunately the day after things started to hatch the cord wiggled out of the incubator and the rest of her eggs were lost, including guinea eggs that we were so excited about. 


Suzy. Our lambs are in our little pasture here and are a constant source of amusement. 

As for the garden, potatoes and onions are doing great and I planted 4 or 5 varieties of sunflowers that have all come up. It will be so much fun to watch them get taller than us, along with my first ever crop of corn. I started pumpkin plants early and managed to plant them out successfully. That is actually the first thing I've started indoors that survived hardening off and transplanting, so I'm excited to have grown our own jack o lanterns and pumpkin purée. 

My spinach, kale, lettuces and carrots are slow to appear and I dread a year without a fresh supply of beets. Our elderly neighbour plants a big garden and usually offers us part of his excess. This year we may be counting on his generosity:) likewise, I've replanted cucumbers which simply didn't germinate and my next crop has not come up either. It's a bit discouraging but I've had slow starters before, replanted, and ended up with everything coming up at once and being too crowded. So I guess I'll give things more time and concentrate on what is doing well. 

I also planted a row of asparagus and some tiny shoots have appeared in my straw mulch. I'm nervous to keep the weeds out of that row but we have really enjoyed the asparagus out of my brother's garden. It is definitely worth a try to grow my own. 

Last year I planted 5 grape vines and 3 survived the winter. I don't have a picture but I do need to come up with a trellis idea that works. Perhaps a post on grapes will be in order. I am never sure if I should jump the gun and blog about something before I know it will survive. But if I stuck to that around here I may never blog at all ;) how's your garden growing?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Around the Yard

Things are getting going! Sunflowers, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, beans, corn and peas are up. A few laggers might be reseeded if they don't appear soon. How are things in your neck of the woods?