Sunday, April 22, 2012

April flies by...

Wow, time flies when you're busy!

Have not had a lot of time to sit down and blog, I have been busy doing stuff around the house.

I built my garden frames, hauled a whole lot of horse manure and filled the frames up. That was two days of back-breaking labour over Easter. I had to get it done in two days because a snowstorm was forecast and I wasn't looking forward to hauling wet manure.

I did a bit of planting, some indoor transplants and peas, greens, onions and garlic outdoors. Three of the eight garden frames are mostly done.

I had the spruce trees cut down. That was a bit traumatic, I miss the trees. I have to keep reminding myself of the benefits of their absence, but still, I miss them. A lot. I am hoping that as everything else greens up I will get over it, and I will be grateful for the sunshine in the winter. But in the meantime I try not to look at where they used to be. My neighbours think it's great that they're gone.

The black dot at the top of one of the trees on the left (below) is a crow. Wouldn't you know it, a pair of crows started building a nest in the trees the week before they were felled. I hope they didn't lay any eggs.

Two left (the crows' nest is about 10 ft down from the top of the tree on the right)...

...and all gone (this pic conveys very well how bleak it looks without them).

I started digging up the grass overgrowing the slate pathway to the front door. More back-breaking labour, and I am maybe half done. I think it will look good when it is done but it sure is hard. The slate path in the back yard is in a little better shape, but part of it will need digging up too.

All the grass sod that I am digging up I am transplanting under the pine trees on the north side of the house. I don't really expect it to survive there, but one can hope.

The boys that cut down the spruce trees turned the branches into mulch. They took most of it away but I kept a pile that I have used to mulch around the garden frames. There is about 30-35 wheel barrow loads that I kept, I used around 25 barrow loads around the garden frames and am stockpiling the rest. There was close to two cord of firewood when they were done, but I let them haul it away because I am reluctant to burn softwood in my woodstove. In any case, I still have more than two cord of hardwood firewood left over from the last two winters.

The fellow who owns the field behind my back yard mowed it the other day for the first time; after he was done I raided his pile of clippings to use as mulch on the garden. I figure that an April mowing is not going to have much in the way of grass or weed seeds in it. Some of his clippings from last year are well on their way to being compost, I took some of that as well.

Hapi and I have explored some new walking places:

- the gravel pit on the dykes in New Minas

- the Gaspereau River west of White Rock

- the dykes between Wolfville and Port Williams

- a trail through the woods up Gaspereau mountain to the new Wolfville reservoir (the old one is in town, just down the way from my house).

Hapi loves the Gaspereau River, I am pretty fond of it too. I don't know how far the trail goes, after an hour I turn back. I suspect that it goes a lot further and maybe one day I'll pack a lunch and see just how far. On the return walk Hapi crisscrosses the river because it is shallow enough for her to wade across. By the time we get back to the road where we started, she's on an island in the middle of the river at a point where it is too deep to wade to shore.

The first time she stood in the middle of the river waiting for me to rescue her; when that didn't happen she returned to the island and proceeded to hunt for critters. I guess she figured she'd just have to make the best of it. I walked up river to the back end of the island and called her to a point where she could wade across. Twice now she's done that, you'd think she'd learn.

Hapi also loves the muddy ditches out on the dykes; she goes down into them to hunt for critters and comes out absolutely covered in black stinky mud. She even buries her snout in the mud. All her white fur turns black. It's a good thing she doesn't come indoors is all I can say.

Today we went out on the dykes and she didn't get quite so muddy. Then we went up to the Acadia woods and she romped in the brook to shed what little mud she had picked up.

Here's a picture I took of some posts out on the salt grass. You can just make them out, they stand about two feet above the mud (you may have to click on the pic to see a larger version).

There used to be a lot more of them all along the dyke, they were for drying hay. Back in the day farmers harvested the salt grass out on the tidal marsh beyond the dyke, they put it up on the posts to dry and I guess they fed it to livestock. I don't think they've done that in at least 40 years, probably longer. I remember seeing the posts when I first arrived here in the early '70s, but they weren't being used then. Some people around here still use the salt grass as mulch in their gardens.

We go walking in the Acadia woods several times a week. We check on the fish in the pond at the south end. They've been there for several years and all four of them made it through this past winter. Hapi caught a glimpse of them last fall and has been keen to look for them ever since. But since she can't wade into this pond the fish are safe.

Some time this spring some students at the university started building a structure in the woods under a fallen tree. Every weekend they do a bit of work on it, so it is fun to go down on Monday to see what they have added.

We had one last April snow storm on Easter Sunday, but it was pretty much gone by Monday night.

(my lettuce in the snow)

Since then it has been quite dry and warm, people are actually looking forward to a good week of rain that is supposed to start today. I've had to water my seeds outdoors.

Tomorrow we are having a meeting to discuss the annual spring kayak-camping trip. I am not sure if I will go or not. We shall see.