waiting for the sun

Cannabis flower.

Up past 8:30 perusing seed catalogues. It’s the mild weather, I guess, making me think of spring. Another cold spell is coming down the pike, they say. Still the thought of dirt being turned over and busted up has me dreaming.

I bought a 500 page seed catalogue at the bookstore. It’s from the States. Crazy vegetables, a complete chapter on eggplant, big too small, round, oblong, deep purple and green. Carrots 4 feet long, though they wouldn’t be that long in my soil unless they could grow through glacially deposited rock. Plenty types of Bok Choy, Fennel, Kale. It’s alphabetical and I’ve only made it to okra.

Flower barrel.

My garden will be the same I suppose. The turnips were a big hit last year. The tomatoes were slow. I have a theory on that. I bought them instead of starting them and I think they were mislabeled at Canadian Tire. Instead of 55 day Early Girl I got some 120 day pineapple tomatoes. I won’t make that mistake again.

Willow between onions, raspberry and zucchini.

Regardless I ripened them inside and they were still good. Not bitter.

It looks like a snowstorm has blown in. No concern, the back of winter is broken, even if it’s bad the end is near.

Gemma walking the rows. Gemma left us late last year. She hung in there as long as she could. Couldn’t have been a better dog.

Late October

Get me to the sun!

Hurt my back this morning lacing up my boots. The good thing about getting old is you never have to say, ‘I’m out of shape,’ instead you just say, ‘I’m old.’

In the mountains the sun goes down and comes up a thousand times depending on where you are standing.

Willow and I headed behind Swansea to walk it off. We pushed to the upper reaches and stopped before the ridge. Willow was happy. The snow was fine on her feet. It was about -10°c and didn’t ball up. The sun felt good when we broke into it. The waning moon held steady in the blue sky.

Willow in her natural habitat, loving life.

This will be one of the last trips into the high country. Snow will start flying in earnest. The cold will take hold. Sure there are snowmobiles and ATV’s that can deliver me to where I want to go, but I’ve never liked the smell of gasoline and exhaust. . . nor do I like the noise, plus they all break down. I know that’s part of the fun if you like that, but it’s not for me. Willow concurs. When I can’t get there under my own power I’ll narrow my circle.

Waning crescent.

November can be the shits, low cloud, snow, wet and freezing temps. It’s the month the weather can’t make up it’s mind to shit or get off the pot. However, without fail, by the end of the month the lakes are frozen and the mountains are filled with snow.

Next years garlic.

Down in the valley bottom I finally got the garlic in. It’s late so I planted it a little deeper to keep it away from the cold. Not sure if this is a sound strategy. We will see come spring. The one thing I know about gardening; regardless of neglect life seems to flourish.

Planting a garden is saying a silent prayer.

July Hail storm

The peas torn from their fences.

A few more photos of the garden taken about an hour and a half after the hail storm. Fortunately, it sounds like the hail storm cut a narrow path through the valley. Communities to the south and north of Invermere were not hit as hard.

Talked to a few gardeners and it sounds like everybody pretty much is in the same boat with smashed plants. I was lucky because I don’t spend much money on plants nor rely on it for a living and sell produce like some.

Plenty of videos on Facebook of a river running down main street. My neighbours experienced some flooding. Our basement started to flood due to the outside stairwell filling with hail, fortunately I saw it early and was able to shovel out the stairwell before it melted.

I won’t replant anything, I’m interested to see what will make a recovery and what won’t. There will also be plants that may live but be too far behind to produce, I suspect the tomatoes will be in this category.

Tomato plant stripped of it’s leaves. A cannabis plant to the right that didn’t fair much better.

This is definitely an unusual event for this area. We do regularly get hail, but not that big and the storms don’t usually last that long. Luckily the damage seems minimal, although heartbreaking for people who love their gardens, and not wide spread. What can you do?

Beans that were doing so well before the storm. I doubt if they will make a comeback. They do have lots of time however.
Lettuce that has been delicious. I am hopeful a few more salads will be harvested before the end of summer.
Carrots.
Sunflower broken off. They may form new shoots with heads.
I don’t know what the big rhubarb is all about!
Broccoli and cabbage were just not meant to withstand hail stones, still I’m hopeful they will make a recovery.

smashed salad

A good hail storm rolled through on the heals of the 40° temperatures we have been having. It flattened the garden with marble sized stones. Cutting every broad leaf to shreds. It lasted about thirty minutes, flooding basements and parking lots.

Hopefully the moisture neutralized the lightening. You never know, moisture, hail and rain cuts a thin swath, while heat can be everywhere. This is jest not a livelihood. The tune would change then.

It’s up to the garden to grow back on it’s own. Hail storms spread nitrogen they say, so this is their start. Everything wants to live. The beans better straighten themselves out and grow some leaves. The zucchini with pellet holes have to regroup, toss a canopy up and salvage what’s left. As for the carrots, onions, turnips, beets and spuds, they’ll be ready for stew come fall, hell or high water.

It’s disappointing to see the work smashed. It’s also wonderful to see it grow back.

Nothing is more resilient than a plant with two more months of sunshine left.

Later March

Clouds of spring over Pinto.

A beautiful day that I didn’t take full advantage of. This evening Willow and I went to the garden. Each fork full revealed a few worms. The frost is out of the ground. Time to get serious and start gardening!

Many years ago I purchased a terrible load of manure from a wealthy local farmer. He charged me double so I thought it was going to be twice as good. It was loaded with rocks from the side of Swansea.

Every year while digging the garden I pull more of those small rocks out and pitch them to the pile near the rhubarb patch.

Tonight, in Willow’s excitement to be back in the garden, she fetched every rock I tossed, brought it back and buried it back in the garden. I didn’t mind because she was helping with the digging.

Sometimes the evening makes up for the day.

Mid July

 

Not a lot of hot weather. Rain in-between sunshine. I’m okay with that. The world’s seemed to have gone strange. I hold onto what’s familiar. Not because it will save me, but because it’s the only thing I know.

The garden is teeming. We can’t grow enough to be self sufficient. Even if I started shooting all the deer around me, it would be a tough go. The new spuds ease the pain of reality, and there’s something cathartic about picking your own lettuce.

We trade with friends; pickles for rhubarb, weed for meat, firewood for jelly. . . it’s a trick we play to think we are beating the system.

If this is all we get I’ll be happy without the heat.

Early May

RCE_5093Don’t make such a rhubarb about the current goings on!

Covid19 precautions are starting to ease in Canada. We are seeing more tourists. Shops are starting to reopen. About two thirds of the vehicles on the highway and around town, on the weekend, are from neighbouring province Alberta, ignoring warnings not to travel outside of your home province.

The ambulance has been out several times today, a sure sign the roads are getting busier with tourists.

It should be reminded, we are as susceptible to this disease now as we were two months ago.  The only thing changed is we have learned to social distance and bought time to possibly better ready our health care system. Numbers show most are still vulnerable to contract the sickness. This will remain so until a vaccine is developed. It will be interesting how we go forward.

RCE_5096A handsome Flicker.

Five years from now, we will know better how we managed this illness, did we overreact, was there things we could have done better? Right now we move forward with the information we have.

Strange times. One good thing in our small community; it’s amazing to see people forgetting about money and tourists, choosing instead to support each other.

Norland spud

_LME4593Early potato thinking it’s spring.

The Norlands have begun to sprout in the gunny sack. They were harvested at the end of September with the help of Cooper and Scarlett.

Known as an early potato. The first to be eaten, small, but a root will make up a supper at the start of July if the weather cooperates.

My Father used to say about the first root of Norlands, “There were some as big as dimes and some as big as quarters and a whole lot of small ones.”

The cold room is too warm. The Yukon Gold are solid as rocks. The Norlands have grown soft.

They want to be planted, but the ground is covered in snow with five feet of frost below, so they’re gonna get cooked. Ahead of their time some would say.

either or

RCE_4006.jpg

Two Boxers got on Willow, she realized she was in trouble and was fighting back. I saw it from inside and ran out. A couple boots and I picked up Willow. This is not what you are supposed to do when your dog is being attacked by other dogs.

The Boxers where persistent. They snapped at her. Unlike some of the other fights I’ve been in I had to use both feet. I hit them in the chest. I was out of breath by the time the Boxers ran off.

I knocked a Rottweiler out once, when I was a youngster I was bitten plenty, I kicked him right under the chin. The clack his teeth made was like the sound when a good punch lands. It was square. Never planned.

He stumbled around for awhile and retreated.

It can go either way. That’s dogs for you when they remember they were once wild.

the turn

_LME3320Late light.

The garden is looking weary. Plenty of yellow leaves. The vegetables are churning out, knowing fall is upon us. The carrots have the best growing in front of them, same as the cabbage

_LME3331Old peas.

The nights are longer. It’s already cool in the mornings. Orion is rising when I awake. It clears the mountains before light.

_LME3338Why the long face?

The peas have to be pulled. The ones I find I give to Willow. She appreciates them more if I open them. But what am I. . . her servant.

The stars and moon tell the story better.