Monday, 2 May 2011

At the Ready

Friday is the day we rent a sod cutter and officially expand our garden area.  If we were thinking clearly last fall, we would have done it then and amended the soil to rot over the winter.  Alas, we didn't, as we had other things on our mind like sealing up the newly installed windows for winter and getting the Tyvek and siding on the house.  No matter, we'll simply use the new area to plant potatoes (which don't really like rich soil anyways and do a good job of breaking new ground) and we'll amend with serious intent this coming fall.  This will free up a good chunk of rich garden soil within our main fenced garden.

I'm also planning ahead in terms of canning.  I've put a post out on freecycle to see if anyone has canning jars they don't want and I'll keep my eyes out at garage sales and the thrift shops.  I want to have a nice big stash of jars at the ready because in the heat of the canning season I won't want to be scrambling for (or worse ~ buying!) canning jars.  My dehydrator is working and clean.  Last year, I invested in a few extra rings for it so that I could bump up the quantity of food dried per batch.

My garden bench and outdoor tool storage cupboard is tidy and organized as is my little wooden tote that I keep with me at all times in the garden.  I keep it stocked with my hand tools, labels/stakes, my little seeders, tie tape, and work gloves.  My garden wagon (a 19 year old plastic wagon that all 5 kids rode in) is my steady, ever hard working and faithful (although a little gaudy and unattractive) companion.  It hauls all manner of tools, plants, soil, rocks, water, pots and anything else I need it to without so much a word of complaint.  Our wheelbarrow is in good shape, poised to barrow, with air in the tire.  It's currently full of freshly mixed soil/manure/vermiculite waiting for me to transplant some new seedlings.

Next on the garden/seasonal preparedness list is to sharpen all the tools.  My tools are dull and that will make every task seem harder, so I'll ask my husband to sharpen them this weekend.  He does a great job with his grinder and a file getting a nice sharp edge.

On to tractors! Our 14 year old daughter and my husband are working to get the big diesel John Deere tractor switched over from snow thrower mode to grass cutting mode.  They are changing the oil and lubing it up plus installing the cutting deck and rear bagger.  The small red tractor is in the garage for maintenance, too.  It's belt driven and needs those belts replaced because as they age they crack and get brittle.  We don't want a belt to break when we are in the middle of a big job, effectively grinding all progress to a screeching halt.  The small tractor is what we use for tilling the garden and also to till between our tree lines to keep weeds at bay.  It's needs a paint job, but it's a good little workhorse!

Remember the seeds I planted on April 29th?  Well, the cat decided that my nice soft seedling bed soil was a lovely spot to dig and (likely) relieve himself.  Grrr..... Anyone know what I can do to deter him and keep him out of this area?  I've laid out a bunch of tomato cages on their sides, simply to provide a bit of a barrier that will still allow light and moisture in.  We shall see if this appears as an invitation to him or a deterrent.   It would seem that this cat is the source of many little problems here on our homestead...  *sigh*


  1. Cat thoughts: chicken wire allows the light, water, etc and creates a barrier for the cat. Also a bit of cayenne pepper (or hotter)sprinkled will deter kitty. Good luck!

  2. My best advice is to keep kitty inside. He won't be bothering your plants, pooping in the beds, and will live a longer, healthier life not subject to attack from wild critters. Wild birds and chickens will be safer too.

    Failing that, cayenne usually works for a while but if my indoor kitties are anything to go by, they get used to the smell/taste after a while.

  3. Yes, we'd rather the cat be inside but he's VERY sneaky about getting out. With 7 people coming and going in our household every day, the cat manages to get out at least once/day. He hides and waits... he also howls and meows to go out and even squirting him with water won't deter him!

    Thanks for the chicken wire tip. I'll try that!