Saturday, July 7, 2018

Vacation Week Activities

Hello dear friends, it has been a very hectic last few weeks so I have not had much time to work in the gardens.    This past week has been a vacation week but with scorching temperatures and humidex values in the 40's it has been very uncomfortable to work outside or inside!

With the recent passing of my father I have spent most of my (free) time helping my mother prepare for the next chapter of her life.  As a result the gardens have been neglected and I have only just managed to plant up some of the annuals I purchased in May.  I love these planters we purchased a few years ago from a local company and the Wave petunias should fill out nicely over the next few weeks.

Yesterday was the perfect day for working in the gardens.  After some quick and heavy rains on Thursday evening the temperatures fell and the humidity vanished.  Temperatures in the low 20s with a lovely breeze are just perfect for working outside.

This is Kodiak's garden.  Most of our gardens have perennials as the foundation with a few annuals for additional colour.  This garden also contains a waterfall...more on that another day!

Kodiak came to us as a 1 year old pup with a very difficult past.  He was the smartest (and sometimes most difficult) dog we have had at the farm.  Kodiak loved to work the sheep and took his job very seriously.  Unfortunately he was also a fearful dog and had a history of fear biting.  We were always very careful to control who had access to our home so as to avoid any mishaps.  Kodiak came from a very abusive family whose owner eventually burned their house down.  For as long as Kodiak leaved with us he never got over his fear of strangers, raised voices or fires.  We loved him very much as it was very emotional for us when he passed away.

Abigail is a great puppy!  Friendly, inquisitive and now we know that secretly she is also a thief.  We now know what happens to my gardening gloves!  

Lucy and Abby have bonded quite well and love to play together even though Lucy is a senior!  Lucy always carries a toy with her and when she stops to rest whatever she is carrying is placed on her paws.

Yesterday my husband started cutting hay in the field in front of our old stone farmhouse.  This is a small field, we have another much larger hay field that needs to be cut and also cut the fields on a neighbour's property.

Unfortunately he didnt get far before he broke down.  Hopefully we will be repaired later today.

I love this plant that was a gift from a friend.  

This one is a mystery to me.  It pops up everywhere and even though it has buds I have never actually seen flowers.  We used a plant identification program on a smart phone that tells us it is supposed to be a lily.  We shall see!

Some of our girls are getting old.  They love to feast on wheelbarrow loads of weeds and grass clippings and are quite excited if they see me coming.  

The waterfall in the koi pond.  The waterfall runs constantly and at night we can hear the sounds of falling water from the bedrooms.

Finally we have a proper door on the garden privvy!  I was so excited to see it and didnt realize it had been completed several weeks ago.

A robin's nest in a maple that needs to be pruned and cabled.  A closer inspection of the nest reveals some sheep's wool and strands from a feed bag.  The young robins have hatched and flown off.

Every year we are astonished that this apple tree hasnt died or come down in a wind storm.  It is essentially completely hollow!  It is just a shell yet each year it produces leaves and apples.

  Here is our darling Willow.  The heat earlier this week took a toll on her.  In February of this year she was operated on to remove a tumour from her neck.  It is so sad when our pets age as we know that we will lose them eventually.  She is a very sweet girl and looks very wise.

A view from the kitchen deck towards the koi pond.

The pond from a different angle.

And a view including the water fall.

And one last photo which I quite like.  Do you see the bugs above the plant?  Although there is still work to be done on the koi pond we are enjoying it very much.

And here is a view towards my little garden shed.  This old lawn tractor is about 23 years old and was one of our first "investments" in equipment when we purchased our farm.  Many parts of it have since rusted out or dont work but it reliably pulls along a utility trailer which at the moment contains composted sheep and chicken manure mixed with compost to add to the gardens.

Unfortunately tomorrow is the last day of vacation for us before going back to work.  I wont have vacation again until September but should have other photos of our farm to share with you before before then!

Wishing everyone a great week.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Hello dear friends, it has been a while since I have posted about our farm activities.  Today the temperatures are uncomfortably warm and the humidex is hovering around 42 degrees Celsius so I thought we could enjoy some photos of our ponds to keep us cool!

We have 3 ponds at our farm.  The first pond we made is named Lake Ophelia after a yellow lab that we had several years ago.  As you can guess her name was Ophelia and we named the pond after her because she liked to sneak away for a little swim every now and again.  It was far too hot today to make the walk to Lake Ophelia for new photos so here is one I took in May.  When we originally had this pond dug it was done in two stages...the original pond and then after some reflection we thought it was too small so had it doubled in size.  Over the years however the sides of the pond have become overgrown and it is a very big project on our list of things to do.  I have been having fantasies about having a tiny little "boat house" that we could use to launch our canoe and perhaps even use for summertime dinners with friends.  

Two years ago we started construction on a koi pond which is at the rear of our farmhouse.  The pond is large enough to overwinter a collection of koi but still needs to have some cosmetic finishing done.  Willow and Abby are demonstrating conclusively that fish water is The Best Water Ever.  All three dogs frequently quench their thirst at the pond which I, as a human, do not understand when bowls of cold tap water are readily available.  It must be a dog thing.

Some of our fish were gifted to us by a friend of my husband's and some we purchased.  The koi pond is deep enough to allow the fish to overwinter.  In the past we used to purchase goldfish for the our waterfall garden and in the fall we would catch them and release them in Lake Ophelia.  As Lake Ophelia is a completely self contained pond we have not been concerned about the fish escaping into the wild.  We can often see schools of goldfish in Lake Ophelia with some of them having grown to about 4 inches long.  We have a resident heron that helps to keep the population under control.  

Our largest and most attractive fish are in our koi pond.  They are a little difficult to photograph!

In addition to the fish we have an assortment of frogs in all of our ponds.  In the spring the sounds of the "peepers" in Lake Ophelia can be heard in the house.  After the peepers we enjoy hearing the chorus of the bullfrogs.  There are also frogs in our ponds near the house.  I am not a frog expert but think that this could be a Leopard Frog.

And a Green Frog.

Ponds are not maintenance free.  Each year we use a combination of annual and perennial pond plants to try to keep the ecosystem balanced.  This pink lily is a transplant from Lake Ophelia which in turn was a transplant from a neighbouring farm. Pond plants help to provide shade and cool the water.  The plants also help to absorb the excess nutrients from the water and the roots in turn help to provide some food for the fish.  The plants also provide cover and protection for newly hatched fish.

This garden heron was a leftover from a previous water feature many years ago and recently "resurfaced". 😉  (that is code for we had it but forgot we had it!)

This little duck had a work related injury (code for he was dropped!) and we disguised his damage with some artificial ferns.

The waterfall enjoys frequent revisions.  The water circulates through the pond with the help of a pump and then cascades back over a collection of rocks and flagstones. My husband often tinkers with the arrangements of stones to change the sound and effect of falling water.  The falling water from the waterfall and the water features helps to circulate the water and add oxygen for the fish.

Some plants are contained in wooden planter such as this yellow iris.  The irises, lilies and ornamental grasses (not pictured here) are perennial plants but the water hyacinths and water lettuces are annuals.  All of the plants together help to keep the ponds' ecosystems balanced.

Well friends is currently 730 pm and we still have a temperature reading of 30 degrees with a humidex reading of 38 degrees.  I hope you enjoyed this little tour of two of our ponds-I noticed that I didnt have any post worthy photos of the waterfall garden!- and hope you will visit our farm blog again soon.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Long Weekend!

Hello dear friends, at this time of the year it seems that the garden changes by the day!   I have snapped a few photos over the last couple of days to share with you.

We have 3 ponds at the farm.  Ponds are fascinating!  As we are on vacation for the next week I will try to write a post about ponds but for now I am sharing a picture of an ornamental grass that I received from my mother years ago.  It is actually rather invasive when used in the gardens but last year we discovered that it is quite happy to live in plastic pots in some of our water features.  Here it is coming up in our waterfall pond.

I have had somewhat disappointing results with some of our bulbs this year.  We were overrun with rabbits this year and have an incredible number of chipmunks.  We have had a poor showing of some bulbs that I didnt think those rodents found attractive                                          and   others plantings have been decimated. 

 I love allium.  I have had different varieties at the farm and they multiply reliably.  The trick of course is not to be too impatient and spear them with the garden fork!  This clump has lovely fat buds.

It is always fun to get some good photos of our sheep and lambs.  These two lambs are enjoying the warmth of this old manure pile.  Committed gardeners know the value of adding composted manure to the gardens and that is definitely a big advantage to having a farm!

 This little lamb is grazing very early pasture.  At this time of year our flock is still receiving grain and hay but over the next week they will be grazing new and lush pasture across the road giving our pastures a change to grow.

Having our own laying hens is another great advantage we have.  Every day we collect fresh eggs to use for our breakfasts and to use in cooking and baking.

Abby has learned this habit from her sisters.  Although the dogs always have an ample supply of fresh water it seems that fish water is the best.  Abby is still a puppy and we have been watching this situation unfold...we wonder how long before she topples into the pond?

Lake Ophelia in the distance.  The bull rushes are coming up and serve as a natural water purifier by absorbing the nutrients that allow algae to grow.

The lawns have received the first proper cut of the season.  Although I love to mow the lawn it is a very time consuming chore and as we both work full time it is not always possible for us to find the time to properly keep the lawns cut.  This year the crew that looks after our lawns were late getting started and had a hard time cutting through the thick and lush grass.  

The little garden privvy is closed and secured in the winter but in the summer holds our recycling and trash.  It is a pretty little structure and provides some nice photos!

For our Canadian visitors this weekend is a long weekend to celebrate Victoria Day.  Wishing everyone a safe and happy long weekend!  Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Farm In Early May

Hello dear friends, this week we seem to have gone directly from Winter to Summer!  It is hard not to have spring fever when the temperatures are so warm.  The snow is finally gone so a little walkabout was in order.

A view of the moon at 6 am one morning this week.

Last weekend we moved our Adirondack chairs to the fire pit and had a lovely little bonfire.  Crackers, cheese and wine were the perfect accompaniment on a warm late afternoon. 

Pulmonaria is one of my favourite plants and one of the first to bloom here at the farm.

This Sweet Cicely has been a rampant self sower which puts it into the Garden Thug territory.  It has a very deep root and I will try cutting it back severely this year to see if it dies.  The plant is quite pretty and looks delicate but has firmly established itself under our large maple trees.

The daffodils are just starting to bloom.  The tulips have fallen victim to marauding rabbits.

Even the crocuses have been mowed down.

The three stooges!  Abby is fitting in very well.  It is hard to believe that she is already 6 months old!

This week the sheep were happy to have their photos taken.

This little lamb is not dead but is enjoying the sun and warm ground.

I hope that you enjoyed this very quick tour.  Thank you for visiting!