My apologies for not attending to the blog these last few days. It is a long weekend here in Canada (Happy Canada Day everyone!) and I've been making sure to take in the holiday sights and activities.
We began our weekend sitting on the front porch Friday evening watching yellow birds (american goldfinch) darting in and out of the meadow. They seemed to keep returning to a particular patch of plants so I took a look at a reference book and realized they were dining on sow thistles. It's sights like these that make me so happy we decided to stop mowing that back section of the property. It might look a little messy but there's an array of wildlife enjoying that spot now that wasn't there before.
In addition to enjoying a little downtime at home we also took in some events. Sunday night we viewed the Canada Day fireworks from the front steps of the lighthouse at Rocky Point. I couldn't imagine a nicer view. And the weather has turned a corner, it's really feeling like summer here now so a trip to the beach was in order as well.
It has been a delight this week to venture into the veggie garden. Every day I have been picking a bowl full of these.
Strawberries are one of my favourite fresh fruits. Initially I was a little worried that the plants weren't yielding very much and I considered that we should put in a second bed but after a week of collecting large bowls of fruit each day I think we are doing quite well. We've had fresh strawberries for breakfast and snacks, strawberry tarts and strawberries in our iced tea. One of these days I would love to learn how to do canning. Strawberry jam would be first on my list of things to make.
I've been really impressed with how good the veggie patch is working out this year. We started off with asparagus and followed it closely with rhubarb, then greens - lettuce, spinach and cilantro. Strawberries and radishes were ready this week and today I saw pea pods starting to show signs of bulking up. It's been a continuous flow of food and I'm just thrilled.
There is always a tragedy though it seems. Some things have gone horribly wrong in the veggie patch this year. It started with seed. I purchased a number of packets of seed from a company I hadn't used before and I've been horribly disappointed. I have approximately 6 carrots in my beds right now and I planted an entire packet of seed. I planted several rows of turnips and again, only a handful of plants came up. I have peas but only half the amount that I planted. And pumpkins were a complete no show. At first I wondered if I had done something wrong. Had I put the seed somewhere where they got hot? too cold? did they get wet? But I couldn't think of anything that I had done differently than other years. Then I read this post. Okay, so it's not just me. There's actually a problem here. So I've made a mental note for next year. I'll go back to buying all my seed at Veseys. I've been buying from them for a number of years and never had issues with germination like I did this year.
After accepting that my pumpkin seed wasn't any good I actually went to a nursery and purchased some new seed. I knew it was late getting them going but I thought it was still worth a try. Into the compost pile they went and voila.
I had a half dozen pumpkin seedlings shoot up and I was on my way. But oh wait, we had several days of rain earlier in the week. That should have been a good thing, keeping my seedlings well watered. Instead it brought out slugs. I'm still not quite over the carnage. They ate every single one of my pumpkins. I was obviously not meant to have pumpkins this year.
Looking across the road from our house is a much larger veggie patch. This farm field has been growing soybeans the last two years. This year we saw the tractors out working the soil and wondered what this season would bring. Good news! Hills mean potatoes.
There's an unwritten rule on this island, so we've been told, that at the end of potato harvest any tubers left in the ground are fair game. That means we'll be able to walk across the road and help ourselves to free potatoes for the winter. Of course, every triumph comes with a tragedy.
There are a lot of diseases that can affect a potato and farmers spray chemicals to prevent them. Smelly nasty chemicals. We have to be aware when the tanks come out - closing the house up and bringing the cats indoors. I know farmers are simply doing their jobs to the best of their ability but I worry, about the air, the ground and the water. Just what's in those tanks?