Look! Green things!

Radish seedlings!!
More seedlings!!  (Kale??  Can't remember)

Most seedlings are up now, with the exception of most of the herbs and the peas & beans (got them in LATE!).  I also made a trip up to Lee Valley after work on Friday, and picked up a few things - all necessities, I promise ;)

Nasturtium seeds (I want to try pickling the green seed heads this year), a rain gauge, min/max thermometer, oriel feeder, plant markers, staples for holding down shade cloth and floating row cover (also bought those), some cheap garden clippers and a small sprinkler.  I have almost NO garden tools, and so am gradually increasing my selection.

The rain gauge in action - I like it, since it has a floating disc that makes it easy to read.

The markers in place in the herb bed.
I also bought these tall tomato spirals.  I planted four tomato varieties this year, two of which require staking (I'll be putting up netting for those), and two that don't, but will do better with some support.  So I'm trying out these spirals, and am comparing them side-by-side with the traditional tomato cages.  Already, I'm liking the spirals better, since simply putting the cages in the ground bent almost every one, and broke one of them.  The spirals are much more expensive, but if they work, and last longer, then they will be worth it.

I also bought a charcoal grill (not at Lee Valley)...

... and got it put together just in time to light it and grill some steak and zucchini!!  Sorry, no pictures of that - I was too hungry :)


We've got babies!  There are at least two in there, and possibly three - I didn't want to get too close and disturb them too much.  I'll take pictures every few days, and post them, so we can all see them grow up :)

On a completely unrelated note, can anyone tell me how this is comfortable?

She sleeps like this all the time, and glares at me if I move her.  Silly Katydid!

What do you mean, the weekend's over! Didn't it just start??

Doesn't look like much, does it?

What was my plan again for this long weekend? 

1. Plant what I can in the garden.  Almost done.  Since the weather turned HOT, I did plant out the tomatoes and peppers, and planted the brassicas, herbs, mints and "salad" bed (lettuce, beets, spinach, chard, carrots and green onions - all the plants that don't really go in any other bed, which are all grouped by plant family.  'Cause that's how I roll) .  Hopefully, tomorrow after work, I'll get the squash/cucumber bed and the peas and beans planted.

2. Get the rain barrels set up.  Let's just ignore this one, k?  Well, I did get some cinder blocks from Mom & Dad's house.  Okay, fine, Dad delivered some cinder blocks.  And moving on...

3. Go to the local Garden Club plant sale tomorrow morning, and not buy any plants.  I didn't do too bad!  I didn't buy any tools, but I SCORED in the plant department - a Jerusalem artichoke and Egyptian onion for the Middle East herb bed, all for a grand total of... wait for it... $2.50.  Minus 10% for being a garden club member :)

4. Clean. The. House.  House?  What house?  What is this "clean" you speak of?

5. And hopefully celebrate a good friend's ATCH on one of her dogs.  Go Kyra!! Total, 100% success!  WAY TO GO, KYRA AND G.!!!

You found a WHAT in the yard?

Chelydra serpentina
AKA Common Snapping Turtle.

I have NO idea what it was doing in the yard, even though I am close to both the lake and a catchment pond.  Close, but not that close!  Dad did his good deed for the day, and carried it down to the catchment pond and chucked in it released it back into it's natural environment.

Official turtle carrier.

Apparently, the word in the neighbourhood is that this is a pretty good yard to hang out in.  I have my yard toad* (who is back this year!!), and some new neighbours:

Red-Winged Blackbird eggs
Remember that small tree in the front yard that the tree guys cut down?  It was surrounded by a bed of daylilies, which are still there.  And is now a nesting site!  The nest is only a couple of feet off the ground, so I hope the eggs don't get eaten by a ground predator :(

Mama bird on the roof (behind the shrub - she's shy)

Annoyed Papa bird
Mama and Papa aren't too thrilled when anyone is in the front yard, but hey, we were here first :)

*Not sure if I've blogged about the yard toad before.  I have a toad in the yard, that I run into (but not literally!!) every time I mow the grass.  He's cute, and this year, he has a friend :)

You light up my life*...

Dad putting plastic over the open top of the cupboard.

The kitchen ceiling came down the week before last (and yes, I really should have posted this sooner!).

Well, make that both kitchen ceilings. 

Yes, I had two ceilings in the kitchen.  Because, it's SO much easier, when you are renovating, to simply add plumbing and electrical OVER the existing ceiling, then add a suspended ceiling over that.  Hides flaking paint really well too.


But it's gone, and I'm getting an incredible sense of almost-vertigo when I walk into the kitchen, since it's gained almost two feet in height.  Of course, new drywall will reduce that back a foot or so, but it will still be higher than it was.

Sorry for the bad picture, but I couldn't get the exposure correct with the light on.

And, um, I can't actually turn the light off.

Because the switch won't work anymore (I guess that's what I get for complaining about the position of the switch?).  Dad had to take the light down to rip out the ceiling, and after putting it back up, we realized the switch didn't do anything any more.  He tried again, and got the switch to work - yeah!

Except it also turned off the fridge.

Hard decision - a light that turns off, along with the fridge, or a fridge that stays on, along with the light...

ARGH.  I've bitched before about how I despise fixing other people's mistakes, and the wiring in this house is going to be one big fix.  Odd that, considering the home inspector told me the wiring had been updated... and yet, we've found old knob-and-tube wiring in EVERY room so far. 

During the inspection, we also found an old wasp's nest in the suspended ceiling.  What we didn't realize was that was the tip of the iceberg - fortunately, this nest is uninhabited!

 And yes, I promise to update about the renos more often!

*Does anyone else remember when there used to be "Song of the Year" countdowns every New Year's Eve?  I remember when Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" came out (1977.  Does that mean I'm old?), and ALL of us kids hated it.  Hated.  And of course, my dad and Uncle Buddy both predicted it would be the song of the year.  New Year's Eve comes around, we are all at my aunt & uncle's house, listening to the radio... and when it won, Dad and Uncle Buddy ran around, grabbing all the kids and giving them big kisses, just to rub it in :)

I still dislike that song, but the memory makes me smile (especially since my uncle died soon after.)  I can't believe it's been over 30 years since that night!

Independence Days and the May Two-four

(For those of you not familiar with this, have a gander at Sharon Astyk's blog here.)

I'm not "officially" doing this, as I'm a wee bit busy this year, but basically, the concept is to do something every day to help secure your food supply (and it actually includes eating your food - woot!).

But so far this year, I've managed to buy seeds, plan the garden (about 39476 times, and, of course, I keep changing it ), put in the raised beds and fill them with a mix of top soil and compost.

And yesterday, I PLANTED!

Rhubarb, asparagus and garlic.  Unfortunately, the rhubarb and asparagus aren't in the bed I want them in, as that bed doesn't exist yet, as it's going along the fence that isn't there yet.  But they'll get a start this year, and at the insanely low price I paid for them, even if they don't transplant, I've not lost much.  On the plus side, if they do survive the transplant, then I've gained a year on both. 

This weekend is the May 24 weekend.  For all you poor non-Canadians, it's pronounced "May Two-four", and is the official start of summer across the land.  It's the weekend where every Canadian worthy of the name is either planting their garden, or is stuck in north-bound traffic on the way to the cottage*.  Or both.  And for those that aren't doing either, they spend the weekend with a vague sense of unease, and have nightmares of green things and traffic :)

So, the weekend plans for me?

1. Plant what I can in the garden - it's been a cool spring, so I might still wait on the more tender plants like tomatoes (I did start the tomatoes, peppers and some squash a while ago).

2. Get the rain barrels set up.  This house has NO outside tap (incredible!), and carrying water from inside in a watering can is going to get old very soon, besides that fact I hate paying to water the garden.  I got two barrels (food safe plastic) from work for free a while ago, and just need to get some cinder blocks to make the base, connect them with some ABS pipe, insert the tap and fit the downspout into one of them.  A good weekend plan, and one I can hopefully finish before it rains on Saturday.

3. Go to the local Garden Club plant sale tomorrow morning, and not buy any plants :)  Actually, I might buy some veggies if they have them (which reminds me, I bought a lemon cucumber seedling at the last meeting.  Because I need another cucurbit to plant.  Really.)  And as a fund-raiser, one member has been collecting old garden tools and refurbishing them, so I want to take a look at those as well, since my garden tool collection is, um, almost non-existent.

4. Clean. The. House.  Ohmyohmyohmy, it's dirty.  Filthy.  I'm been putting it off, due to the renos (it gets dirty seconds after I clean, honest), but I have company coming in a couple of weeks, and those weeks are going to be busy, so, clean it is.  Ugh.   

5. And hopefully celebrate a good friend's ATCH on one of her dogs.  Go Kyra!!  Paws crossed for a successful weekend!

*I am aware that west of the Manitoba-Ontario border, you spend this weekend stuck in north-bound traffic on the way to the cabin.  While wearing your bunny-hugs.  And drinking Vi-Co.  While passing dugouts that have nothing to do with baseball.  But we like you anyways, even if you don't speak Canadian :)

It's a start...

I FINALLY got a start on the raised beds...

There are six for now, built from 12' lengths of 2" x 10" untreated lumber.  I know some sources recommend using 2" x 4", or 2" x 6" instead, but that doesn't seem deep enough for me, especially for root crops.  And as I will be rotating my crops every years, I figured that building them deeper to start with makes more sense.

The ground slopes quite a bit, so we pounded in stakes in each corner, then levelled each bed and attached it to the stakes with decking screws.  I then lined the "gaps" with cardboard, which will hopefully hold up long enough for the soil to settle in, and for me to figure out what I'm doing with the pathways.

And of course, we had good supervision.  Oh wow, Kip is scruffy!  Methinks another stripping session is due soon!!


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