All things green and growing

Winter kept us hostage for a lot longer than usual so everything here is late getting started. Our lilacs are finally in bloom and only now the famous lupins are finally starting to bloom. With it of course, come the hoards that feed on us...the mosquitoes, and the little black flies. Already we are all covered in bites and scratching ourselves silly here. We try so hard to stay away from the dreaded DEET bug sprays but sometimes desperation wins out. We are still trying out a plethora of natural sprays, some of which work a little for a short time.

What's worse is keeping the windows closed at night when you desperately need the breeze, because the little black flies are so small they make it through the screen! Somewhere in the bible it is said that the Lord sent a plague of locusts....I think he should have sent black flies! We thought the bad winter would have made this a less buggy summer, but it's the worst one yet. Even the devil himself would beg for mercy if he could spend a few days in my garden around 3 pm! There is a blessed few hours of peace between noon and 3 pm and then they descend en masse. Then it's out with the netted jacket, face shields and bug spray. I've even seen people in this area driving riding mowers wearing what can only be described as a hazmat suit.

 We planted all our vegetable seeds and the seedlings we started inside and said our prayers. And as with most newbies we are learning from our mistakes. Our cucumbers were doing well in little pots in the house but once we planted them outside, half of them wilted away. The birds have stolen many of the seeds before they even sprouted. We didn't even realize until the corn started coming up that three quarters of the seedlings are missing. So today I tied some reflective strips to posts in the garden in the hopes that we can keep the birds away from what's left.

We got a load of partially composted horse manure mixed with hay from a horse farmer in the area. This should provide some nice fertilizer once it all breaks down. It also gave us a chance to meet the new little foal just 12 hours after it was born.

In a couple of weeks the hubby will be off work for a week of vacation. We are going to start building the chicken coop that week and then we'll be getting the chickens. Stay tuned for some pictures of that in my next entry. 

We are still trying to restore the gardens and get things in shape but it is so overwhelming that at times we wonder if this is too much for us. I keep telling myself to just focus on one task at a time. We've been making plans as to how we want to reinvent this property and decided that we are going to restore some of the cleared land back to forest. A lot of the little overgrown gardens in the back are wasted because no one sees them so we'll be moving whatever plants we can find to the front. That will mean moving a lot of brick edging and digging up a lot of plants. We had pruned all the grape vines down to stumps to start fresh. There was just no way to tame the giant tangled messes of vines that had gone unpruned for so many years. And, we are researching what we can best use as ground cover instead of grass. Mowing the grass takes an entire day which seems like a lot of work for something that just serves the purpose of covering dirt. So time to replace it with something else that won't need mowing, to free us from some of the labour.

At times we have felt a little discouraged here. There seems to be so much work to do to shape this into the place we would like it to be. Sometimes we wonder if we bit off more than we can chew.  But when we sit out in the sun with a cup of coffee and listen to the wind rustling through the trees and the birds chirping, and we feel the sense of peace and serenity of this little country retreat, we find our resolve to keep plugging away. And a little walk on the beach now and then helps too.


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