Tuapte Semper Ingredere Via

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At one with nature – Summer 2016

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One big advantage of spending much of the summer at home plugging away on chores, relaxing with a book and wine is being in nature unlike the city.   Like one night in mid June I got up around 2 am to get a glass of water and heard this scratching noise outside.  Couldn’t figure what it was so flashlight in hand I went out on the porch and the biggest porcupine I had ever seen was gnawing away on an antique chair I had set on the deck.  I swear the bloody thing was at least 300 pounds.   Grabbing a garden hoe and clad in my tighty whities I gave battle to the mighty beast for at least an hour before finally driving him off into the darkness. (I think the poor animal coudn’t stop laughing long enough to stay)

 

Quite a few interesting birds this summer.  Below a Baltimore Oriole take off after a free meal

 

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

I saw this summer after seeing some blue jays coming in for peanuts and sunflower seeds that some seem to be bald. Wondering what the heck was going on and found out both Blue Jays and Cardinals do a full moult of the feathers in late summer.  With the neck and head feathers being a bit slower.   Odd looking.   Boris and Karl below.

Karl

Karl

Boris

Boris

Had both the chainsaws out (not at the same time) to cut up the last of the 8 foot logs into pieces to split and the resulting pile below.  Did all the splitting with the axe in the blazing sun and high humidity.  Finally finished the last few one afternoon and a had a cold beer on the deck to cool off before a cold shower.  I was just about to step in to the shower and realized all the towels were on hanging outside.   Too lazy to get dressed to stuck on the flip flops and grabbed the plastic bag to stick the towels in thinking that the house was far enough back from the road no one could really see me and if I moved quickly, efficiently and with athletic grace I would be out and back in within seconds.  Of course I get out there and the first I thing I do is not the close peg bag onto the ground.  Quickly grabbing that I lost hold of the plastic bag which started to blow off in the breeze towards the road.  Charging after that with my hair blowing in the breeze – and not only my hair – I caught up to the bag 50 feet on just as the local seniors bus drove by in time to see the moon setting over my property at 3 in the afternoon

Wood Pile

Wood Pile

Cardinals were around most of the summer but haven’t seen them the past few weeks.  Seems all the birds enjoy the sunflower seeds. Hoping they are around this winter.

 

Cardinal

Cardinal

Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal

Seem to be at least 3 or 4 northern flickers around all summer.   Colourful bird which seems to eat a lot of insects

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

One night last week I heard a bang on the porch around 11 pm so up I get to investigate thinking it was the bloody porcupine back for a return match.  Turns out in was a fisher which is apparently a nasty mammal willing to put up its dukes and have a one on one , last man standing fight.   Bugger took one look at me when I switched on the light and took off like a bolt of lightning.   Obviously heard of my prowess with the garden hoe from the porcupine.  Bound to have heard.

Written by dcveale13

August 16, 2016 at 1:46 am

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Spring

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Snow gone and the ground is drying up.  Birds migrating north and setting up nests.  Deer coming out of the forest more during the day looking for food and fun times.  Lederhosen weather.  Will soon be out in my leather shorts, hat with a feather and accordion. Yodeling to the music while walking the pastures.

Spent Saturday planting trees.  Two yellow weeping willows out towards the road, river birch and lilac near the house and a macintosh, 2 royal gala, couple pear trees and a second plum tree out back.  If all produce I guess i will be making a lot of hard apple cider, pear brandy and not sure what one does with a plum but must be able to turn it into booze as well. Old man Cam’s roadside emporium will get you toasted.

Checking the trees out back Sunday in the rain and heard underbrush in the forest rustling like something big coming.   Quickly ducked down and out charged this enormous chipmunk.  Scared the bejesus out of me.  Had teeth like a sabre tooth tiger.  I pretended to be tying my shoe in case anyone was looking (although i was wearing rubber boots so not too convincing).  I swear that bloody chipmunk must have tipped the scales at 20 pounds.  Eating all my bird see i bet.

This fellow often walks down the suet feeder and trees looking for food.  Eats and runs for the trees. Bigger woodpeckers seem to scare him off

Nut hatch

Nut hatch

 

Couple of gold finches starting to moult to bright yellow after the winter.

Goldfinchs

Goldfinches

 

Grackles arriving.  Very social bird with all sorts of noises.  Quite bright but they look like their pissed off about something

Grackle

Grackle

 

Kill deers seem to next near water.   Always have a few running around during the day.  Nest in meadows apparently.  Distinctive voices

Kill deer

Kill deer

Seeing deer many mornings.  I can never get close enough to get a good picture though. Buggers seem to be able to run faster than me. As do the chipmunks, field mice, squirrels, seniors and cops

Deer

Deer

 

The Pileated woodpecker is the largest in North America.  I think !  About the size of a crow. This one is about the size of 2 – 2.5 blue jays.  Comes around once in a while when i put some suet in the old tree stump

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

 

The gray ghost or male northern harrier.   Around daily and they nest out back.   Low flying and like an owl hunt a lot my sound.  Seen him or her pick up some fresh food here and there.   Hard to see without enlarging the pic.  Yet to come and sit on the perch near the house, or at least never does when I’m looking out the window

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

 

Meanwhile digging out a  larger potato patch.  Onion patch next.    Seabuckthorn and goji berry shrubs likely coming in a few weeks. Along with herbs: Bergamont, Chamomile Roman, Columbine Plants, Hyssop, Jacobs Ladder Plants and Lavendar.  A few more raspberry and strawberry plants as well.

Written by dcveale13

May 3, 2016 at 12:39 am

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Humor

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I’ve always thought of humor as a state of mind.  The ability to laugh at oneself as the adventure unfolds.

 

All the book learning I have had seems  to matter little when dealing with the complexity of producing food on the land in a sustainable and resilient way.   Apparently the deer, chipmunks, jack rabbits etc figure I’m there to feed and amuse them.   Out again the other day chasing deer off in flip flops at 6 am.  The jack rabbits now that they have seen me run, just snigger a bit and eat away until I’m a few feet away then leisure move off to some other tasty bits I have planted for them.

 

Success I think comes from watching the animals and working for them.  I mean with them.   Although it may seem I do work for them. Country life is a Three Stooges festival.  Nyuk, nyuk.

 

This fellow – barred owl – came by in mid February and took down a big jack rabbit.  Spent the day in the sun (-20) and nibbled away on his prey.

Sitting on the jack rabbit

Sitting on the jack rabbit

Having a lunch break

Having a lunch break

Devoured the whole thing, fur and all.   Thinking I can hire him for year around control of the animals.  Maybe he can be Hootie and I can be the Blowfish.   If he could keep the chipmunks and rabbits from eating stuff I would worship him/she as a god

 

Have about half an acre towards the first tree line of really good, well drained soil.   Nitrogen fixing black locust are to the north and apple trees to the north east.   The plum trees I will put to the west leaving the area in front of the trees for perennial vegetables, berry and nut trees, herbs, medicinal plants and ones that attract good insects (honey bees) and birds.  Picture below shows a bit of it.  The funny looking things on the ground are old carpets I use for killing off the grass under it to bring new areas under cultivation.

Woodlands garden waiting for the gazebo

Woodlands garden waiting for the gazebo. Green cedars will get taken out shortly

 

Some shots below of stuff growing or to grow – maybe

Mint. Contained now by sod but its suppose to spread where it can

Mint. Contained now by sod but its suppose to spread where it can

Jerusalem Artichoke plot.l Should give about 50 pounds of tubers a year

Jerusalem Artichoke plot.l Should give about 50 pounds of tubers a year

High Bush Cranberry. Grows to 12 feet. edible berry.  50 of them

High Bush Cranberry. Grows to 12 feet. edible berry. 50 of them

20 of these young Hazelnuts growing. Get about 5-10 pounds per year per plant

20 of these young Hazelnuts growing. Get about 5-10 pounds per year per plant

Comfrey. Medicinal. Leaves for mulch and fertilizer.  Harvest 3x a year. 20 so about 250 pounds of fertilizer.

Comfrey. Medicinal. Leaves for mulch and fertilizer. Harvest 3x a year. 20 so about 250 pounds of fertilizer.

 

And a pileated wood pecker for those who made it to the end

Pileated woodpeck

Pileated woodpecker

Written by dcveale13

May 19, 2015 at 12:52 am

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Buggering about

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Well I’m getting pretty good at growing grass.   Darn stuff shoots up a foot in a week.   Keeping it down around the house , veggie patch and out back where I have edible perennial stuff growing and paths here and there.   Battery powered weed eater is a good send.  With the solar panels its easy to charge up but need another battery so i can work harder.

Deer have been around making fun of me.   Up one Saturday morning around 6 am and saw a bunch heading for one of the apple trees.  I went charging out in my flip flops and not much else to scare em off.

Deer laughing at me

Deer laughing at me

I got out and jumped up and down a few times and they finally hopped off.

Cowards would not stay and fight

Cowards would not stay and fight

Starting cutting up an old oak tree out back that had fallen over during the winter. Harvesting branches to stick in the garden for the pole beans.   So far its working, beans going up.   See how prolific they are.

Zuchinni growing and pole beans

Zuchinni growing and pole beans

Spent this weekend getting flower stuff planted.   What i know about flowers I could keep in a thimble and have room left over.  All look good at the nurseries but hard to tell what to plant.

Some kind of wild flower. I know its blue

Some kind of wild flower. I know its blue

Grabbed a bunch of bulbs from Walmart of all places and stuck them in this flower bed.  Some other stuff which I believe are annuals I grabbed at Home Depot in between visits to the lumber department.  See if they come up or whatever they are suppose to do!

Will see what comes up

Will see what comes up

Also dug up and planted a bed I scattered wild flowers on.   Forget what the package said and what exactly that means but they seem a lot easier to do than those bulb things.   Will see if anything pops up this year

Easy to plant

Easy to plant

Finished off the some stuff on the deck and built a big planter and trellis.   Honeysuckle plant in the middle (girl at Home depot swore it climb up the trellis.  )   Also planted a bunch of hops in there to grow up the trellis.  Not sure I will make beer but the options is there.   Took me 6 weeks to drink a six pack of beer.  Wine is another story !

Morning coffee spot

Morning coffee spot

Planted 4 big raspberry plants out back not too far from the strawberry and asparagus.   I guess they need lots of room.  Will take off the rest of the grass and put in some low level growth like mint.  Some day.   Shed going up soon along with the pizza oven

Like raspberries more than strawberries so more to be planted in a year

Like raspberries more than strawberries so more to be planted in a year

 

 

Written by dcveale13

June 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm

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Planting

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Busy spring digging, planting, more digging and hauling composted manure.   All good fun though.   Spring seemed late arriving and it seemed to rain every weekend.   But that made for some great skies.

Bit of colour on a grey day

Bit of colour on a grey day

Planted 20 hazelnut trees I ordered from Grimo Nursery in Niagara on the Lake.  Start of making a nut orchard.  I think some korean pine nuts and may try the northern pecan next year.   Fifteen of the hazelnuts in along the laneway and five out back in the growing forest garden.

15 Hazelnuts

15 Hazelnuts

If they gow (not sure I have a green thumb) they will produce about 10 pounds per tree.  Grow to about 14 feet high and 10 feet wide in 5 yrs

Picked up 50 HighBush Cranberry (native) trees and 50 Norway Spruce trees and planted those a few weekends ago.  The HighBush Cranberry are edible, make jams and wine unlike the similar European version which even the birds don`t like.  (Internet is awfully handy for finding out stuff !)  Next year I will space out 50 elderberry trees near them.   Both grow to around 14 feet tall and 10 feet wide so if they grow this will be lots of stuff to eat, attract birds and insects (and later get the bee hive going).  Norway spruce are apparently the fastest growing spruce so stuck them here and there towards the road side of the property to eventually be a partial screen.

Porch Deck

Porch Deck

Finished off the porch deck. Some furniture and shed next.  Spend most of my time on this deck which looks due west, not buggy and a great spot for my rocking chair, chewing tobacco and lassoing deer as they wander by.

Planted 24 comfrey plants back on the forest garden area which I will harvest for compost.  Its a great plant for breaking up clay soil, grows in anything.   Should be able to harvest about 15 pounds of compost a year from each plant.  The 5 vegetable beds planted except for tomatoes , peppers and eggplant.   Put in a bunch of squash in the back while i figure out what kind of ground cover to eventually put in.   Some kind of flowers planted – bulbs from walmart and i have no idea what they are.  Two beds of wild flowers put in also.

Eating the nyjer.  Even with a table saw going they hang about

Eating the nyjer. Even with a table saw going they hang about

 

 

Written by dcveale13

May 20, 2014 at 12:38 am

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Longest Winter Ever

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Early start to winter and a late finish to it.   With no thaws in between and bitter cold its been a long haul.  Some weeks I shoveled the lane often twice a day on the weekend.  Fortunately a lot of snow came down when I was there on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Almost done now though I hope

 

Jays have been around all winter.  Sometimes in a flock when I toss out shelled peanuts

Jays have been around all winter. Sometimes in a flock when I toss out shelled peanuts

Early morning during the holidays and bitter cold

Early morning during the holidays and bitter cold

Morning after the Ice Storm

Morning after the Ice Storm

Clearing skies after the ice storm

Clearing skies after the ice storm

Ice coated everything.

Ice coated everything.

 

I know every inch of the lane now.

I know every inch of the lane now.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by dcveale13

March 5, 2014 at 2:02 am

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Starting Fall Chores

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Pretty much the last load of furniture in for now.   Trying to keep the centre of the open living space free until I build my cob (clay, straw, sand) furniture and water container coffee table for thermal mass as some point, perhaps the fall.   But its find for now.   Next is finishing off getting all the books in from various places !

Lots of reading spots

Lots of reading spots

Need to load up this bookshelf soon before  winter arrives

Need to load up this bookshelf soon before winter arrives

Harvested a bunch of carrots, potatoes,  lettuce, spinach, onions.   Broccoli and corn did not do so well,   No fertilizer added this past year as a test and it shows on the spotty results.  Have a bunch of squash coming along nicely though for fall harvest.  On the hunt for some local manure to dig into the ground this fall so next year’s harvest is a bit more robust.  I have dug up a big spot out back for about 8 raspberry plants in the spring.  Near the already growing strawberry plants and apple trees.

I’ll dig out the turf off so I can plant 15-20 hazelnut trees to have a small nut farm.  I think each will produce about 10 pounds each.    Gathered up the first few pounds of hickory nuts yesterday from the shagbark hickory trees I have growing.

Scattered a few sunflower seeds around this spring and they have popped up

Scattered a few sunflower seeds around this spring and they have popped up

This winter wood is split but have to cut up these logs soon

This winter wood is split but have to cut up these logs soon

Finishing off a bit of interior work here and there but the weather has been good so working outside on lots of manual chores.   Moving lots of dirt from pile A to pile B.   I think its flashback to working in an office and moving a paper from pile A to pile B !    Moving some over the sceptic system to insulate things for the winter.   Snow barriers going up shortly to try and block some of the snow piling up over the driveway this winter in those north east winds.

White pine, maples, tamarcks and spruce coming along.  Some nearing 3 plus feet after 14 months which is great.   40 or so of the poplar are also coming along and hoping they grow fast as advertised.   I think in the spring I will try and plant 4 willows along the road to block out the house from the road.    Its about 200 feet away from the road and hopefully in a few years the trees will block it.

These late summer flowers are appearing everywhere now

These late summer flowers are appearing everywhere now

Late summer grass and the house

Late summer grass and the house

 

 

 

 

 

Written by dcveale13

September 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm

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