2018 garden Archive

Speaking of cats…..

Posted February 28, 2018 By Ruth

So, those if you who’ve been reading here for a while probably remember that I’ve had issues previously with the folks in the house across the street, mostly due to their habit of letting their dog(s) roam (“but she’s a GOOD DOG, she knows to stay in the yard!”).

A couple years ago those folks moved out (I can’t remember if I ever posted that), and a new family moved in.  I was frustrated when I first spotted their dogs, but it didn’t talk long to realize this was a different breed of dog owner.  They don’t just allow their dogs to roam.  Its awesome.

Then, this past fall, they got two cats.  At first I wasn’t sure that they weren’t just feeding a couple strays.  But rather quickly realized that the cats were indoor/outdoor cats, so regardless of how it started, they are now definitely owned by those folks.

The cats, of course, roam.  And while the help at rodent control is nice, both of my dogs would be delighted to remove those two cats from existence.  Apollo because they trespass in his yard.  Arty because PREY!!!  Needless to say this has complicated taking the dogs outside, much to our frustration.  In addition there are absolutely coyotes here.  Quite a few coyotes, of the North Eastern variety, which are bigger, and wolfier, than the western coyotes that many folks are familiar with.  Few outdoor cats last very long here.  Especially ones who are outside after dark.  And these two are, in fact our confirmation that they were coming across the street came when I got ready to take the dogs out at about 10pm, and glanced out my front door window…..to find two cats peering under my front steps.

About a month ago, while clearing the recorded videos from the cheap security camera I have watching the driveway, I noticed a clip (taken only a couple hours earlier) of one of the cats coming across the front of the house, and down the driveway.  A check out the window confirmed a lovely set of kitty tracks  in the snow where he’d passed.  Following them back around the house I confirmed that the cat in question had been hunting in my garden.

Now, like I said above, the additional rodent control is nice.

But cats have a tendency of using garden beds as litter boxes, it’s a fairly common complaint in fact.  And even if these cats don’t do that, I don’t want them digging up plants in my garden, even if they are going after rodents.

While the deer/rabbit repellent is pretty darn effective against prey animals, my dogs think it smells awesome and want to roll in it when I first apply it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the cats won’t be much deterred by it.

After looking at a few different options I think I’m going to buy a pair of motion activated sprinklers and (once things thaw enough) set one on either long side of the garden.  In theory one would cover the garden, but once the tomatoes get tall enough one won’t be enough, so I’ll just start with two.  Maybe it’ll help deter the deer too……

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This and That

Posted February 21, 2018 By Ruth

I’m hoping to return to work next week (Tuesday will be 6 weeks), I likely won’t be able to do my normal lifting, but I should be good otherwise.

We moved the automated cat feeder, again, and this time start feeding Trouble her canned food out of it.  This has significantly reduced Shadow’s interest in it, and has gotten her comfortable eating out of it again.  We’ll go like this for at least a month, and then look at switching back to kibble in it.

We had a huge February thaw this past weekend.  Temps in the 60’s, and it was 72 outside this morning!  Course, as I type this a front is sweeping through and temps are crashing hard.  Most of the snow melted, resulting in flood warnings everywhere.  We took advantage of it to set up my new greenhouse:

Husband did all the heavy lifting for me.  But now that it’s setup I can get my christmas lights strung in it and start monitoring temps.  I’m a little concerned about the bigger/taller space being harder to keep warm enough.  I guess we’ll see.  Average last frost isn’t till mid-May, so no matter how tempting it is  I really don’t dare plant out before then.

Pepper seedlings are coming along nicely:

I’ve re-seeded the ones that didn’t sprout, and rearranged so that the plants that were along the edges are now in the middle.  The soda cans are part of an online contest for a Facebook group I’m in.  To see who can grow the best pepper plant in a can.  It sounded like fun, and I had the seeds, so might as well!

Update: 4 strings of C9 christmas lights are holding it 30+ degrees over air temps.  I’ll take it.

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Lets see……

Posted January 29, 2018 By Ruth

Been another busy and frustrating few weeks.  I will (probably) have a long post about what all has been going on (if I ever get it typed).

In the mean time…..

I got my pepper seeds started.  If all those seeds germinate we’re going to have ALOT of peppers next summer (yes, I know that was the point, but uhoh…..).  Tomatoes will wait till the beginning of April.  Last year I didn’t get anything started till the beginning of April.  The tomatoes were just fine with that.  The peppers not so much.  My two little greenhouses did indeed not survive the weather.  In pricing out buying new ones I discovered that I can buy a larger (with shelf space equal to just over two of the little ones) for cheaper than buying two of the little ones.  So……

 

I forgot to mention, back at the beginning of Dec, I broke another tooth.  That  makes two broken molars.  Not the furthest back tooth, but the 2nd to the furthest back.  I broke the one on my left side back, 2010-ish.  Clean split, front to back, the inside half snapping off at the gumline while I was eating a sandwich.  We did a root canal and a crown.  This time, first weekend of Dec, eating an egg and cheese sandwich from DD, the same tooth on my right side broke the exact same way.

Pretty sure I know the cause.  For one, my teeth kinda suck.  Every tooth has at least one filling, many have two.  Despite twice a day brushing.  Yes, I grew up in a town with fluoride in the water.  Yes, I had dental care as a kid.  The dentist even had  me use prescription (high fluoride) toothpaste for a while to see if that would help.  Didn’t make a difference.

In addition I clench my jaw when I’m stressed.  Not only when I’m awake, but when I’m asleep.  Discovered that after one job in particular tried to screw me over, and I ended up in urgent care with swelling at both hinges of my jaw and numbness radiating up and down the sides of my face.  I have a mouthguard to wear at night when I know I’m having issues.  And now that I KNOW its a problem I can usually stop myself from doing it when I’m awake.  But the tooth that broke in Dec has been giving me fits since all the way back in 2004, when, during a particularly stressful time it suddenly flared up excruciatingly painfully, and then subsided to minor hot/cold sensitivity before I could get in to see a dentist.  4 dentists (two of them specialists) had checked that tooth and not been able to find a problem, but in retrospect we’re wondering if I might not have cracked it way back when by clenching my jaw, and it finally gave up holding on.

I’d originally wanted them to just pull this one, and I’d decide at a later date if I wanted a bridge or what.  But it turns out that the roots of my teeth are abnormally long and deep.  It wasn’t going to be a simple extraction, it would require a surgical extraction, at which point I told them I’d go with the root canal after all.

 

First week of January, while driving into town to get the permanent crown fitted I spotted a small flock of Ring Neck Pheasants on the side of the road.  I’ve been seeing them in the area off and on since mid-summer, but of course never when I have my camera with me.  They were still there on my way back, so I pulled over and snapped a quick photo with my cell phone:

Just to have proof of what I’d seen.  Got home, snatched my good camera, and ran back out the door.  They were still there when I came back through the 3rd time:

For the curious, there were two females in the group when I stopped and got the cell picture (they were off the shot to the left), but I didn’t see them when I came back through with the good camera.

 

Not sure how many folks I have reading here with connections in BC Canada, but if you know someone that way could you please share these images:

This dog belongs to a friend of mine.  A family member was helping care for Inatci back in mid-Nov and was walking him using the flexi leash that was normally used for the smaller family dog.  The inevitable happened (please don’t use flexi type leashes folks, just don’t, especially for larger dogs) and Inatci has not been seen since.  She has followed up on every “large white dog” sighting she’s found with no luck.

 

I’m still having fun finding new things to do with my Instant Pot.  A friend recently posted THIS recipe, and of course I had to try it.  The resulting cream has a very strong caramel scent to it, though of course its far less sweet.  I put some in my coffee this morning and I like it quite a bit, though I think the baking soda tang may be coming through more than I want.  If I understand things correctly the baking soda is more for color than flavor, and I may try it without the next time I do it.  I also intend to try whipping this into whipped cream with some sugar…..

 

Someone (elsewhere) asked me to describe what sub-zero(F) temperatures feel like.  I have no description.  But I can tell you that it’s so cold that when temperatures finally rise to single digits ABOVE 0(F) it feels like a freaking heat wave, and temperatures in the teens with the sun out make you want to ditch the winter gear.  THAT’S what sub-zero feels like!