Thursday, August 17, 2017

Building a Koi Pond!

Hello dear friends, although the koi pond isnt quite finished I thought I would share some photos of what we have done so far.  Last year we were offered 5 young koi from a friend that has a pond in the city.  Over time the fish in the pond have been reproducing and growing in size and it was time for them to get rid of some.   So....we brought them home and as so often happens at the farm a new and urgent project became a priority!  Every year at the farm we buy ornamental fish for our waterfall pond,  In the fall we transfer them to Lake Ophelia where they easily over-winter in the deep water.  In the spring we observe schools of gold fish living happily in the pond, getting larger each year.  Because Lake Ophelia is completely self contained there is no danger of the fish escaping into waterways.

The photo below shows the beginning of the new pond which is adjacent to a series of decks that run around our house.  We wanted to be able to view the koi from the seating area, and we wanted to be able to keep the koi close to the house year round.  This pond is almost 5 feet deep at the far end and is approximately 12 X 17 feet.

After building the framework the pond was lined with a heavy pond liner.  

We have an old rubble stone farmhouse and the area that we live in has lots of rocks.  The outside of the pond wall is being enclosed in a rubble stone wall.  The view below shows the pond from the upstairs balcony.  You may notice that we have added railings around the edge of the deck in order to comply with building code requirements in our area.  One of the railings has a shelf which we are referring to as our "bar".

We sometimes see Chantalaria gazing intently into the pond.  On occassion I have seen her delicately drinking water from the pond but we wonder...would she ever try to catch a fish?

When the pond is finished we will add flagstone to the top of the pond to hide the liner.

We have added different plants to the water garden and transplanted some of the bull rushes from Lake Ophelia to help purify the water.  Hint! : that is not a good idea.  It turns out the the silty soil that the bull rushes had been growing in made a terribly murky mess of the water in our new pond.  A candid conversation with the helpful sales person at Ace Hardware allowed us to see the error of our ways.  😢  Now we know that in future we need to either use special pond soil or we need to use containers that do not allow the soil to leach into the water.  Even with a large filtering system running it has taken weeks to try to clear the water up.

In addition to a filtering system a large pump continuously circulates water.  We used flagstones to create a waterfall and love the sound of the water.  The pond also has two bubblers which provide oxygen in the water and prevent the water from freezing over completely in the winter.  We also have a little resin duck floating in the pond that has a little water spout in its' beak.

This water lily was a transplant from Lake Ophelia.  Before that it was a transplant from a neighbour's pond.  We also had a yellow lily however it did not survive one of the winters.

We also have water hyacinths which are annual plants.  In warm climates these are invasive species but at the farm they are in a very enclosed area and once the temperatures drop they will freeze and die.

Some of the koi at feeding time.  By feeding them in the same location every day they quickly learn where to come for food.  We love watching them.

Our fish have also been busy starting families.  Here is a very young fish.  When small they seem to be all eyes!

I hope that you enjoyed this quick update.  We have also been working on the waterfall garden as well as trying to finish the work on the new master bedroom and master bathroom.  I will have some photos to share soon!  Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Landscaping Progress at the Farm

Hello dear friends.  It sometimes seems that we are so busy at the farm that we dont get anything done!  I am happy to share some quick photos showing some of the progress we have made this summer.

We love to spend time out of doors.  When we were considering a major renovation to our old stone farmhouse we knew that we wanted to have lots of outdoor living areas.  This is part of a rather extensive deck that adjoins our new kitchen.

At the time that we took these photos friends had just left after we have a lovely dinner together.  This deck has 2 levels...a lower deck which connects to a small gazebo and the upper level with a seating area and a veranda which wraps around our old house.

We always find an opportunity to take a photo of various farm animals.  Here is Horatio the cat.

And of course some of our sheep.

This arbour has a wonderfully rustic feel to it.  

Our barbecue was relocated to our parking area while the construction was going on and has only just now moved to its' new home under our little tiki hut.  We have had this barbecue for many years and it has served us (and our friends!) quite well.  

The koi pond is not quite finished.  It is 5 feet deep at the deepest point which allowed us to successfully keep the koi that were gifted to us last year alive.  We added a selection of annual and perennial pond plants and  have learned that it is not a good idea to dig up and transplant bullrushes from Lake Ophelia and add them to this pond.  😞😞😞  It turns out that we should have used a special soil mix to avoid clogging the pond filters.  Unfortunately the fine silt has made the water rather murky and it has been a long process to try to filter the sediment out.

I love my little gardening shed.

A view of some of the pond plants and the waterfall.  We have many projects underway at the moment including working on the waterfall garden by the dining terrace and landscaping around the gazebo.  And of course we need to find time between rain to finish cutting and baling the hay.  I hope that you enjoyed this quick update.

Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Early Summer at the Farm

Hello dear friends, it has been a while since I have posted.  We have had quite a wet summer so far which has put quite a "damper" on keeping up with the gardens!  We recently had 170 mm of rain in one week with 102 mm of rain in a 24 hour period alone.  The gardens have been waterlogged and the mosquitoes unbearable.  On the bright side kindred gardening spirits understand these challenges and hopefully wont judge me!

Although the allium is no longer blooming I like these two shots showing visiting pollinators.

I love the electric blue of this centaurea but for all of its' weedy nature I wonder why I keep it.

About 20 years ago we constructed a stone wall to terrace our front lawn.  Over the years the junipers we planted in front of it became overgrown so we chopped them out last year.  This year this rugosa rose thanked us by making an appearance through the newly freed up space around an evergreen tree.  We are going to have to transplant it to a more suitable location so that it can fourish.

So many years ago this borage was one of many plants I received from an elderly neighbour.  It self sows quite freely and is supposed to be very beneficial for bees.  What started out as one plant has turned into a large border which I havent mustered the energy to tackle.  😊

Here is a different rugosa rose which has been very happy at the farm.  It is highly fragrant and spreads by sending up new shoots from underground suckers.   It is not the best fit in a border but I am thinking that it might be lovely planted in swaths along the new driveway.

I have seen so many glorious photos of phlox on various blogs and have been anxious to grow some of my own.  Last year this group of plants were just becoming established.  This year....I find this.  I noticed the same situation on a different phlox plant in a different border and I squarely place the blame on 2 rogue lambs that consistently barge through a fence to graze the lawns we refer to as "The Grove".  I was able to photograph the same two criminals munching on my tulips.

My husband finished a lingering project.  This arbour has been missing a roof!  We are debating which vine is growing up the side of it, we previously had concord grapes growing here but had to remove them because our yellow labs were eating the grapes.  Grapes can be toxic to dogs and while ours seem to have a cast iron digestive system we didnt want to take any chances!  We are already far to familiar with our veterinarian!

There is nothing more comforting than a good old fashioned Adirondack chair...in my opinion!!  We have gone through several of them over the years at the farm.  These are plain old pine chairs that have been painted and dragged around.  They spend most of the time on the veranda but in the heat of the late afternoon summer we like to move them to the lawn.

Our latest two projects include the koi pond as well as working on the extensive decking that we have on the back of our house leading the a small gazebo.  Although the work is not done we have taken a few "test drives" with friends for barbecues and by all accounts it is going to be a very popular entertainment area!

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Stroll

Hello dear friends we have had a very busy weekend so sadly no time to work in the gardens.  We have another wet week with another 35 mm of rain on Wednesday.  Many parts of the province have experienced record rainfalls.  The consistency of the soil is just perfect for weeding so if I can learn to tolerate the blackflies that are out in droves at the moment I will try to spend a bit of time gardening during the evenings.

I love this mix of tulips from Veseys called "Wine Lovers".   Those that know me will understand the significance of the name!

More tulips from the same collection.  I planted them last fall in the Hercules garden.  The apple tree in this garden has almost finished blooming and the petals have left a beautiful carpet of white.

We have many varieties of apple trees on the farm and while some have already finished blooming others are just coming into their full glory.  Colours range from pure white to pink with many shades in between.

I love allium!

We have some lilacs in the hedgerows.

I believe this to be some form of wild choke cherry.  Did you notice the snail?

More lilacs with a divine fragrance.

Another apple tree.

A pair of ducks at Lake Ophelia.

Part of our old stone house.

This is a perennial bachelors button (Centaurea Montana) which has brilliant electric blue flowers but is rather weedy and a rampant self sower.

I hope you enjoyed our little bit of exercise.  Wishing everyone a lovely week.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Wild Weather at the Farm

Hello dear friends, it has been the strangest week for weather!  We had a couple of days of hot humid weather with temperatures of 30 degrees followed by a big drop in temperatures with high winds and heavy rain.  

It is still early in the season but the trees are all starting to leaf out.  The many apple trees in our areas had a brief glorious display of blossoms but most of the petals have been blown off by high winds.  Lake Belwood is just visible in the distance.

After hot humid weather on Tuesday and Wednesday we had strong winds on Thursday.  By the afternoon clouds started to build and we had a brief period of heavy rain showers.  We didnt notice until the following day that the winds blew the roof off of one of our bird houses!  It is lying on the grass by our little blue spruce tree.

Heavy rain is blurring the view of Bailey's Garden.

We sat on our front veranda watching the rain come down.  In about 10 minutes time we received 8 mm of rain.

And then as suddenly as it started it was over.  I have never photographed a rainbow before!  We were not able to locate the pot of gold which is unfortunate because if we did we would retire and spend every day at the farm!

Now this is annoying.  Two of our lambs are just small enough to fit through the fences and spend part of the day grazing the lawn in the grove.  It didnt take long for them to discover the tulips and once discovered they wasted no time in munching on them.  

Our sheep have been enjoying the pastures across the road this week.  Sheep love dandelions so as they return home they often make a quick detour to nibble on some.  I think that this lamb was vocally denying any involvement in the Tulip Caper.

A view towards one of the gardens from the veranda.  Most of the tulips are past their prime now.

The koi pond is still a work in progress.  Although this week's rainfall was brief the heavy rains from over a week ago caused the pond to overflow.

I hope you enjoyed this quick update!  Thank you for visiting.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mid May at the Farm

Hello dear friends, this time of year is particularly busy at the farm. The trees are starting to leaf out, the grass is lush and green and we have birds everywhere.  The gardens change daily at the farm and I have a few quick photos to share.

Just over a week ago many parts of Ontario and Quebec received significant rainfall with many areas suffering from severe flooding.  Although it became quite soggy at the farm and we had some ponding we didnt have the water damage many other areas experienced.  Now a week later the garden soil has just the right of moisture to make weeding easy!

A week ago the crab apple trees were just starting to bud and now they have burst open with glorious blossoms.

I simply cannot seem to master the art of taking photos of the koi.  The koi pond and its' surrounding stone wall is quite a project.  This week some of the deck and step details are coming together so in a couple of weeks I hope to have some pictures of the finished pond.

A lovely spot for tea.

Pretty pretty Holly.

A view over Willoughby gate towards the forests in the distance.

Well that was a very quick peak at some of the views at the farm.  Thank you for visiting and enjoy your weekend!