Don’t Let The Cat Out Of The Bag? – Comedy Open Mic Round 31

When we were kids, we had a live trap by the garden to catch the rabbits that pilfered our produce. It was a homemade one that was pretty effective at capturing the little varmints.

My stepdad, Paul designed and built it with two by twos and the leftover wire mesh from our rabbit cages. It wasn’t efficient at first, but with some R&D and a little trial and error, we had it working pretty fine.

Here is a professional looking blueprint

So I would have to check the trap each day when I got home from school and dispatch the usually wild rabbit in the trap. It was not a great feeling when you slide the barrel through the mesh, but we couldn’t let them go and eat all our vegetables. I would always try to get as close as possible, so it would make less noise and be a clean kill.

Until one day

I got home and there was the cutest little cottontail in the trap. It wasn’t wild though. I put the gun down and put on my leather gloves. (I didn’t want it to bite me as I was petting it.)

It was so tame. I picked it up and cradled it in my arms. It absolutely loved me. I was stroking its fur and it was vibrating (Probably with the emotions of finally finding its boy.) I decided that we wouldn’t be eating this bunny. It was going to be my pet.

I went to the garage and found an empty beer case. I threw a bunch of grass in it for the bunny to eat and then closed up the top so he wouldn’t hop out when we went into the house.

While we were in the basement, I called my mom at work to tell her about my new pet. She started to get a little heated when I answered her question as to where the rabbit was right then.

“Jesus Christ, get that thing out of the house before Paul gets home! They are full of lice and all kinds of other bugs.”

“Mom, I’ve already been petting him. He doesn’t have any bugs.” I said as I looked down at my hand and closely studied the skin.

Oh great. My skin was crawling with something but it was too small

It was right about then that I saw and heard the beer case starting to pop around the floor. Then the top blew open and that rabbit came flying out with the fear of death in its face.

After stammering a bit on the phone, my mom asked if the rabbit was loose in the house. I couldn’t lie my way out of this one.

“Yeah, but it’s okay.”

I tried to make it seem like everything was cool as I watched a ball of fur start racing the length of the house, stretch out and completely clear the couch, slamming headlong into the fake wood panel wall, right under the window.

“I gotta go, Mom, I’ll get it out of here.” I had about fifteen minutes before Paul pulled into the driveway.

I sprinted to the corner where the rabbit would have landed but it was a lot quicker than I was. It shot itself into the wall behind the TV. I started pulling the TV stand away from the corner but it was already on its way down the other long wall. This time it didn’t slam into the wall, it just rounded the corner and started towards the couch again.

WHAM!

This time it was a little closer to the window, which was probably five feet up the wall. That’s when I realized the bunny was trying to escape but the couch was in the way and it didn’t know that it could jump off the couch and easily make it.

Well, easily hurtle through the two panes of glass and most likely get sliced to bits, ten minutes before I got a spanking and had to go cut some lawns to pay back the $15 it would probably cost to replace the two windows.

I also could foresee me cleaning up all the blood and having to putty the new glass into the frames.

I grabbed the beer case and ran to the window as the bunny went back for another leap of freedom. I waited there as it made it over the couch and right into my cardboard catcher’s mitt.

The fight was on!

I immediately crumpled the box around its body and started running for the stairs. It clawed its way free and popped its head out of the box and screamed wildly at me. It was frightening.

Not as frightening as when I tripped at the bottom of the stairs and my face pressed into the box as we both went into the netherworld for a split second of screams mixed with gnashing teeth and my mouth full of lousy rabbit fur.

By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I had the bunny by the scruff and it was flailing like Phil Robertson at a pride rally.

It was a few feet to the back door and I pushed it open it with the rabbit. Two more steps and I flung that thing out to the front yard. I watched it do a few circle jumps in the air and then shoot across the lawn, road, and ditch into the field near the creek.

I put the beer case back in the garage and went to the basement to put everything back where it was when the fiasco started. As I went back up the stairs, I heard Paul’s truck pulling in. I walked out to greet him in the driveway.

He got out of the truck and stared at me as he walked up to the house. Then he looked into the garage.

“What happened to your face?” He asked

I remembered the close encounter on the stairs. “I got into a little fight.”

He looked back into the garage and then asked, “With that beer case?”

“Uh, it was involved,” I replied.

“I don’t even want to know. Did we get anything in the trap?”

“It’s empty. The carrot is still on the hook and I’ll set it tonight.” I hoped that would be the end of it.

“Okay. I’m going to lay down for a while and then we’ll cut the lawn.”

I eagerly agreed to that sentence. It was far more lenient than the one I had envisioned earlier. I went to the washroom to look in the mirror and wash the parasites off of my hands.

There were some burning claw marks on my cheek, in addition to the bite on my lip that was starting to throb, but I doused everything with a couple foamy shots of peroxide and went out to finish my chores.

That was the last time that I tried to keep a wild animal as a pet, and the first time I changed the statement in the title to “Don’t let the rabbit out of the box.”

Thanks for reading and I would like to nominate @amberyooper and @smithlabs to partake in the merriment. You can learn more by checking out @comedyopenmic’s last post. It has a link to the rules and everything.

Probably.

Old Red

Red bought the farm yesterday. I didn’t think it was time for her to go yet, but she had her own thoughts, as she always did.

She’s on the left. It was when she was pretty new.

I wonder if it ever gets easy to say goodbye to your chickens. I was glad that this was quick, unlike when Henny P bit it, but it was still pretty hard for me. At least Henny had the decency to just die and freeze before I found her.

It was easier that way to give her to Roger so he could teach his kid how to trap a marten.

Red kicked the bucket too far ahead of the winter, so she didn’t get to enjoy the part of the circle of life where you become bait. She only gets to be the end and the beginning.

Well, I guess that’s not true. She’s probably baiting blowflies and a plethora of bacteria and other bugs that help with decomposition.

I tried to find a good infographic of the circle of life to support my claims, but all I got from Google images was this.

So, right from the death of Henny P, Red was my favourite chicken. She was the smallest, but she was also the lead chicken. If I would find a bunch of bugs somewhere, I would call the girls, but Red was always the first one there to get her fill. She had no fear of me, that’s for sure. She would peck and scratch my shoes if she thought I was hiding a worm under them.

I called her the ant sniper

The other chickens didn’t bother with ants very much, but Red would get in there and eat tons of them when I’d flip a rock over that was housing the little buggers. The others would stand around and try to eat some of the eggs, but Red would jump in and run them off. If she was going to do the work of getting all the ants, you can bet she’d be the one reaping the eggs. Even chickens know how delicious eggs are.

Another thing I loved about her was that she would jump up in my lap if I was sitting outside. She would get really close and stare at my face. I’m sure she was just hoping some mealworms would fall out of my nostrils or something but I like to think that she just liked the cut of my jib. It would explain why she liked to get all flirty when I would go to pet her.

She was always so envious of Henny’s bra.

In all seriousness though, when I went out to give them the melon guts last night, only three of the girls came running. I looked out to see where Red was but there was no sign of her. I peeked in the window to see if she was laying, but her head was hanging way out and bobbing up and down.

That got me worried

I went in and saw that she was having a hard time breathing and her eyes were closed. I put my hand under her and her crop was empty and her neck was really bony. She could barely open her eyes. I thought I took a bit of video and went in to show Gerri but I guess I didn’t hit the button.

We talked about how she was just out the day before running around the yard and eating lots of grass and bugs. It just seemed like there was no way she could have started failing so soon.

But she was.

By the time I got back out, she was looking even worse. I carried her outside and sat with her on the swing. It was taking all she had to breathe and I sat there crying and debating on the best way to ease her pain.

By this time our cat, Tubs had jumped up beside us and was smelling Red’s face. He started rubbing into my arm and being the sweetest cat you could ever imagine and then I noticed the old butcher knife on the chair. I thought that I would just go over to the fence and cut her head off in one quick motion. It seemed to be better than wheezing to death.

When I lay her head on the fencepost, I moved the knife over her neck and her blue eyelids opened to give me this horrified look and then she jerked her head back.

I, of course, took this as a sign that she wanted to live! Yes, that must be it. She’s letting me know that it’s just something stuck in her throat and if I could just get her to the vet, she would be back eating and drinking in no time.

I went back and sat with her again on the swing. Tubs gave her another sniff and she just laid her head down on my leg. I was back to crying again. She started to convulse like she was having the dry heaves and then she had a shit on my leg.

I had to act fast. I grabbed her neck and snapped it while getting up out of the swing and walking to the fencepost where I lopped her head off to be sure she was dead.

She was.

I put her in an old feed sack and wiped the last of my tears on my sleeve, which as it fell to my side, got smeared in the turd on my leg. Fitting.

I went into the house and solemnly thought about how there was no way I was taking a two and a half year old chicken that hadn’t laid more than two eggs a week for the last three months to the vet but I used that as an excuse to selfishly spend a few more minutes with my friend as she was going into the throes of death. I hope that she was comforted a little.

I’m going to miss my ant sniper and I’m happy the bylaw officer moved away two days earlier and gave her the chance to be a free-range girl again, at least for the last few days of her life.

Red knew that having her own dirt was better than sharing with two others. She would get all the worms.

Why Don’t Nobody Shoot Straight No More?

Yeah, I know that this isn’t a new phenomenon. I have worked for a lot of people over the years and a lot of them have been manipulative and try to use psychological tactics on me. This is one of those stories.

First off, I should mention that I have never asked an employer how much I would be getting paid to work there. My thoughts were that I would do the job for a few months and if I don’t think they are paying me what I am worth to them, I leave. I don’t barter. I don’t threaten. I don’t want to work somewhere that operates in that manner. Pay me what I’m worth to you.

That said, I have been working as a temp on a road maintenance crew. I have been there for two and a half years. This last year and a bit I have worked straight through, but there were a few times I was worried about getting laid off. It’s hard enough getting by on full wages, I couldn’t imagine doing it at 70% or whatever unemployment gives you.

Being a temp, I am in the union but don’t have the benefits of a full-time, permanent employee. Like full dental, drug plan etc… I also don’t get vacation time and can’t buy shares in the company.

This was all fine and good until recently when a bunch of companies came to town and plan on working here for a few years.

They pay very well.

We could actually put some money away towards our dream of going off-grid.

People keep telling me I should go work for these companies because they are looking for people and I live right here. My answer has always been that I like the job I have and that I was sure I’d be offered the full-time position soon.

Then I was told the other day that I wouldn’t be getting it. This was from a coworker who had talked to someone, so I figured I should ask the big boss, face to face.

I was told that unless one of the full-time employees quits, I would not be getting on full-time with benefits. I thanked him for letting me know and left the office.

I was a little miffed, but at least I knew where I stood and could now look into other options. I got back to our crew and the next morning I mentioned it to the coworker that had told me I wouldn’t be getting the full-time job. I just told him that if I got a better offer, I would be leaving. Maybe I could even train for a trade that would benefit me as a future homesteader.

I guess he mentioned it to another employee and next thing you know we are having a staff meeting and I have to explain that I will leave if a better offer comes in, as we have kids and ourselves that need glasses, dental work, prescriptions, etc… My inhalers alone are over $100/month and I only get about $200 in my health spending account. I had to explain that it was pretty sad that my teeth are needing some repair work, but after everything is said and done, there is never enough left for my teeth.

They all understood and realize that I’m not thinking of leaving because of them, but because I need to think about my family’s future.

An hour later my foreman came out and told me that he had spoken to the president and I was asked not to do anything rash until they could see what might be able to be done about getting me on full-time.

This pissed me off, almost worse than when they told me, sixteen hours earlier, I wouldn’t get it.

If there was a chance that I could have it, why tell me there wasn’t? Why is it only after I mention entertaining other offers that there might be something that can be done?

If this was the old days and I was single, I probably would have left for that reason only. Now I have others that rely on me, so I called my wife. I just love her so much. She was very supportive and told me that whatever I chose would be fine.

That was two days ago and I’m still pretty upset about all this. It just makes me mad that people don’t lay their cards on the table. If I’m not worth the extra five or ten thousand dollars per year, then tell me that, or just let me go.

My real problem is deciding whether I even want to stay. I like the people I work with now, but who knows what will happen when we have to double our manpower for the winter? You never know what kind of crew you’ll be working with. I also get tired of working with machinery that has been thundered pretty hard.

I think the best part of the job is that I only work forty hours a week and about thirty-six in the winter unless it’s snowing. Then we get overtime. This means I get plenty of time to be with my family and can actually have balance.

It’s also the devil I know.

It’s the first time I have been in a union and I can’t say I’m a fan, but I do see the appeal for established employees. The union has sort of messed me around, but at least I may also be established soon and can take advantage of whatever benefits have been negotiated prior.

On the other hand, I can sort of see why the company might dick employees around when they have to play by the union’s rules. I’ve seen a lot of people abuse every last bit of their available perks. I understand that it was negotiated, but come on; lets at least be fair. If you’re not really sick or hurt, don’t use all of your sick days. You get plenty of holidays already.

Anyhow, I have never done anything to make the company think I was being less than honest or out to get more than I was paid for. If I have to leave early, I always fill out the paperwork and deduct it from my pay. I have never taken anything unless it was getting thrown out and was okayed by the boss. I am not a partier, so I don’t refuse work because I’m to messed up to drive and I haven’t wrecked the equipment too bad or done any public damage.

I guess I just want to be treated as I treat others. You know, innocent until proven guilty, the benefit of the doubt, and whatever other cliches fit the bill.

Anyhow, this is my first ulog, so be gentle on me. I’m sure it’s not exactly what a ulog is supposed to be but I will learn as I go. It’s also going to be entered in @penderis contest, so if you haven’t, go check his posts and find the one named Abject Sleuth. The info is in there.

All photos from pixabay.com. Thanks, Pixabay, and all of the photographers that give their free images.

Fort St. James – Home Of World Class Chicken Racing

Imagine you are going on your vacation and you drive by this. What do you do?

Photo credit – Linda Glover twitter @GloverLindaJ

You immediately get your copilot to Google what the hell that sign means.

Turns out that there is daily chicken racing in Fort St. James, BC. A place that I only knew of because my Mastercard got sent to their bank instead of the Fort St. John branch that I was supposed to pick it up at.

I totally see the mixup. Really.

We found out that we had missed race day and would have to come back by 11:45 AM any other day. We decided that we would stop in on our way home and see what this was all about because we do love us some chickens.

So we passed the Shovel Lake fire after we left Burns Lake, but the highway was absolutely choked out with smoke. We were afraid that we would miss the races as the fires seemed to be in the direction we were going. We stopped in Endako and called the district office in Fort St. James. We were assured that the skies were blue there and we believed them. This is what it looked like over the lake as we pulled into town.

And this is what it looked like an hour later.

We camped at Paarens Beach Provincial Park and it was lovely, except for the wasps and the smoke. Had a chilly dip and a scrub up and then sat around the fire (camp, not forest) for a beer and to look at the stones we found in the opal beds that morning.

The campsites were spacious and the cost was much less than the cramped site we had a few nights earlier in Port Arthur. We highly recommend staying here when you inevitably come to see this really cool piece of Canadiana.

While out about town, we found out that the chicken races were held at the Fort St. James National Historic Site.

Did you know that they have the largest collection of restored wooden buildings in Canada? Did you also know that those buildings are in danger now from the wildfires?

Well, they weren’t when we were there so this post will be happy in nature because we only thought it was a bit of smoke at the time.

On to the tour!

So after paying and all that good stuff, we went into the museum part where we learned of the Carrier people and how they fit into the fort and the town.

The museum is full of interesting artifacts and stories but the coolest thing about it is how it sort of glosses over how they had to assimilate.

Sure, there was an infographic that told a bit about it…

… but they never delve into what the consequences of the white man’s actions were. It’s a good thing because nobody wants a depressed tourist walking around, bringing everybody down.

In case you couldn’t read that, here is a closer shot.

Well, that’s a bit of an understatement, but also a loaded compliment.

To take our minds off of the injustices, they let us play dress up with a bunch of old looking clothes.

I don’t think it worked, but we need to boost our spirits for the rest of the day. Maybe some deluxe hard candies will do the trick. Happy, happy, happy!

We leave the museum and go outdoors. We are then greeted by the red chairs of last year’s 150th birthday of our great nation. A nation that is founded on the freedom of its authoritarian, Christian people.

Wow, this post is getting too dark.

Okay, well, on with the fun times!

We walked around and took a bunch of photos. One of them was a 360° panorama, but I probably can’t put it in here. I’m going to try it though.

Wow, that worked great. Thanks, Google.

Here are some common people photos. I’m not even going to try anything fancy anymore.

Pretty sure that this is the dock. I’m not an expert or anything, just going on a hunch.

The building on the left is the warehouse, the tall one at the back is the food cache, the short one in the middle is the men’s cabin and the one in the foreground is the market. I guess we were mad at the girl in the warehouse for marking our quiz question wrong, so we didn’t take any photos inside. This was outside though.

Take that, stickler.

Next, we went to the food cache.

Mmmmmm, salmon and hams. Or, if we ship the names it’s halmon.

I just learned about shipping names like Brangelina and Bennifer. I’m a little bit slower on the trends.

 

This house behind the tree is the commander’s, or whatever you call him’s, house. We’ll get to that later.

In the men’s house, we got the question wrong, but the guy was cool so Gerri took a bunch of photos.

And where would we be if we didn’t have an old photo of native peoples dressed in white man’s clothes celebrating Dominion Day by performing an ancient Scottish game?

Sorry, it just spurts out of my brain sometimes.

This one below is the market and the scene for our first video.

I think that was the only one we got right, but to be fair, they used a lot of trick questions. They just didn’t want us to win.

We went to the tanning cabin and met Nicole, who was very engaging and educated on the subject. She was doing some very intricate beadwork when we got there and we were having such a good talk that we forgot to take any photos. Either way, it was one of the better and more informative stops on the tour, so we recommend you going in and talking with her.

After that, we went to the commander’s, or whatever he is, house. It’s the one behind the tree.

It was my favourite place of all because after the boring stuff inside, there were…

Goats and Chickens!

Yep, this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

The world-famous, Fort St. James Chicken Races

First, we had to place our bets.

 

They forgot the -ed on the end. Just kidding. It’s just what all the kids say now. Incessantly.

Notice how confident I am? I’m using both of my hands to show you the winner and my favourite way to have chicken prepared.

We really enjoyed the level of interaction there was with the crowd.

And then there was the comedy routine that was probably just to keep us occupied while they fed cocaine to their favourites.

The second race had a bit of a troubled start and we found out who got the cocaine. Luckily for them, they were disqualified and didn’t have to get tested. The third race was my favourite. I just love the hesitation at the end.
Here’s another reason it was my favourite race.
I might have lied when I said I wasn’t spending them. Too bad my phone was getting buggy and needed a restart.
So in the end, we got to look at a lot of history, good and bad, talk to some interesting folks and watch some world-class chicken racing. We won some, we lost some, but we went home with big smiles and a button…

Oh, and a few bucks as a souvenir.

We also did some quests and I almost forgot to tell you that we got to shoot slingshots.

So, in conclusion, go to Fort St. James. We’ll be going back and hopefully for a bit longer and to possibly do a bit of rockhounding. Rumour has it that there is jade around there. Well, not so much rumour as a geological survey.

John Sheldon Opal Beds

While on a short vacation/scouting trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, we stopped to look at some property in Burns Lake. It looked really good on paper, and when we went into where we thought the driveway was, we were quite hopeful.

Then we saw it was about ten kilometres down a mountainous logging road.

That would not be good in the winter; not by a long shot.

While we were camped out near the property, Gerri looked up other things to do in the area and it turned out that there was an opal/agate bed only a few kilometres from where we were camping that night.

We decided that we didn’t have time right then but would stop and camp at the site on the way home. We both love looking for fancy rocks, so how could we pass up a chance to go mining for free?

We did a quick search and found out that John Shelford staked the claim in the 1980s after finding two pieces of precious opal but left the claim for the district to turn into a public reserve staking. This means that anyone can go up there and dig up some stones. There was a 1.9 km hike that was easy, with some steep sections but there are opals at the end of it.

Pretty cool, right?

I think that I like rockhounding because Gerri loves rocks so much and I love the outdoors. I also love searching for things as well as the thrill of finding them.

When I can do something I really enjoy and possibly give the love of my life something that she really enjoys, I think that’s probably the best hobby you could have. It also gives us both a few things we crave more than anything.

Quality time together, relaxation, and adventure.

There are lots of other fantastic points, like mental and physical exercise, fresh air, the outdoors, and wildlife. We also like cooking outdoors and making coffee in odd locations.

Okay, back to the quest

A few days later we came back and drove into the campsite part of the John Shelford Opal Bed. There were some signs.

The campsite was pretty good, especially for free. There were a few spots, a couple of picnic tables with fire pits…

…and a really cool outhouse.

That sign is not the cool part, especially because we now had to fry the steaks. No, this is the cool part.

I could watch the stars from my throne. If only I could stay up that late.

We had some supper and then tucked into the old fartsack for the night.

(Seriously. After those beet tops and the tri-tips, it got a little gaseous in there.)

OPAL TIME!!!!!

As you can see, we are very eager beavers. I couldn’t even wait to put shoes on… or pants.

After a breakfast of leftover steak and potatoes, we were off and running.

This is the start of the trail the next morning.

 

The first half a kilometre was really nice. We scared up a cow moose with calf near the start, but I couldn’t get my phone out quick enough.

I kept the phone out after that. This was the pleasant part. We’re thinking the only reason it was good, was because it had been recently logged off.

There were nice, flat trails for a bit. Like this.

It didn’t take long for them to get like this though.

You can see the trail in the centre of the last photo. We quickly learned that things have changed since the 2011 article that we were going by. It said the trail was easy. We have since notified them and it is now changed to difficult or challenging.

We made it to a few different sites, where we found stones, but we were pretty beat. We decided to hike back out before we lost the strength and the will to survive. We also didn’t want to forget the way. (We’re getting older, you see.)

There was more of this…

…but in the end, we made it back. Partly because we found a plethora of huckleberries to munch on along the trail.

There were literally thousands of bushes like this along the higher parts of the trail, which was good news, I think.

I figure that if there were bears (or people) in the area, these patches would have been robbed already. Most of the raspberries were drying on the plants and the huckleberries were at the peak of ripeness. If there was a bear around, I imagine we would have seen sign of it.

Unless…

They just fill up on hikers that stop to pick the berries amongst a trap of deadfall trees.

A little worse for wear, but after some big gulps of green juice, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. Well, I was not feeling good about choosing shorts for the hike. These are some of the reasons.

When we were all packed up we thought we would boogie into Burns Lake for a swim as we had seen a nice little beach area when we passed through. As we came down off the mountain, we saw this.

That was the start of the Shovel Lake fire which has been burning out of control for over a week. As of posting, it is the largest wildfire in British Columbia.

Well, enough sadness. On to the gratuitous partial nudity!

The water was pretty cold, but it was just what we needed to rinse off the blood, sweat, and tears of a day of prospecting.

Speaking of prospecting, this is some of what we found.

And our favourite…

This is the one that made Gerri cry when we got it out without breaking it. We don’t know if it’s an opal or an agate but it will always be the reason we went on that trip.

We have no idea if anything we found is worth money, and we don’t care. We don’t even know what to do with them but we are going to start looking into lapidary tools and see if we can turn any of it into something beautiful. We have always loved looking for cool rocks but had never really known how rewarding it could be to go through such a struggle for the unknown and finding so much more than you were expecting.

I guess this is why there are prospectors.

When we got home to the computer, we figured out how to track ourselves, somewhat, with the location thingy on the phone. I traced it out for you. It’s supposed to be 1.9 kms in, but we think it is a bit longer now to get around everything.

When we go back, we will be taking better tools and will be cleaning up a lot of that trail. We would like to spend a few days camping and really learn about how to extract these gems without smashing them into shards. We’d also love to pick a bunch of those huckleberries. I bet they make a delicious jam and maybe even a pie.

If anyone is interested in meeting up on a long weekend and having a rockhounding adventure, the site is about fifteen minutes from Burns Lake, BC and we would love to plan a trip for possibly the Labour Day weekend, but definitely for next summer.

You can reach us at chris@granolalight.com or via telepath crystals. We’re hoping that a few of these hold those qualities.

Free Bees?

Talk about weird timing

The other day I was going through the PYPT posts and came across a really cool one by @curtross about a swarm of bees just out in the wild. I really liked it and talked a bit with him about it.

Then yesterday we went to the dump and saw this in the woodpile.

Do you see what I see?

Yeah, a local beekeeper threw all of this out apparently. I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but there were tons of bees still in the boxes.

I talked to the guy at the dump and he said they are all still full of comb and honey.

That shouldn’t attract too many bears.

Anyhow, @curtross, or anyone else that knows about this stuff, would they be diseased or something? Why would a beekeeper throw out hives and bees?

What could a non-apiarist do to save any of this from the inevitable fire? We have always wanted to keep bees, but live in town. I could keep it at my work though.

 

Gardens And Reflections

All winter I was dreaming of building some river rock, raised- bed gardens in the backyard. I had everything planned out in my head and had read many articles on mortars and techniques in preparation for when the snow disappeared.

We were going to have a mixture of reclaimed logs and stone to try and keep everything natural looking.

We still might.

 

For now, we are going to work with the logs. They are free and doable.

As usual, I forget to take photos when I’m doing things, so I rely on Gerri to document our progress. I don’t think I even took a “before” picture. Luckily she showed up before I finished, or it would just be me trying to describe the process to you.

I suppose I found the stonework daunting, more than expensive. It’s hard to admit that, mostly to myself, but there it is. I kept saying that I was going to buy cement and mix it up for the footings, but I never did it. There was always something else that the money was needed for. The rock is free, but when I started to think about building the wall, and the sheer weight of the rock I would be wheelbarrowing into the backyard, I sort of froze up. Mentally and emotionally.

I can’t think of anyone I would rather be beside when I’m feeling down or inadequate. Even just having her near me gives me everything I need to keep going. I love when she comes out and tells me to wait, just so she can take a selfie of us, or asks why I’m doing something a certain way.

Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break, put my arm around her and stare at the tomatoes while we cool down and talk about things we would like to do if we had the money.

It’s never anything grandiose or even expensive. It’s simple stuff, like a rock waterfall and a little fish pond or to replace our dilapidated sheds. A little piece of property and a sawmill.

We really don’t want much.

We talk about how nice it would be if we could use the property behind us to plant some gardens in. It gets excellent sun and under all that grass is a gravel parking lot. It used to be a theatre but now sits empty, except for a room upstairs that the cable company uses to broadcast it’s twenty-six channels from.

Don’t tell them, but I cut down a big poplar on their property last year that was full of carpenter ants. I didn’t know about the ants until it hit the ground. The real reason I cut it down was that it was blocking all of our sun.  We threw the branches and limbs in this garden as sort of a hugelkultur garden.

We also threw in our old compost pile. It wasn’t completely broken down but mostly. Just like us.

It was filled with kitchen scraps, old chicken bedding and last years tomato plants, along with an uncommon amount of ants. I was thinking about how to safely poison all those ants but then I thought better of it. They really weren’t hurting anything, and possibly were helping break things down.

I did take a few particularly infested clumps and threw them in with the chickens.

Circle of life and all that.

We mixed in 4 loads of wood chips to the mix and then got ourselves prepared for shovelling the trailer load of manure into wheelbarrows and moving them to the backyard and into the new garden.

That was when I had an idea!

You know, I never thought I’d make it to forty, but here I am at forty-six and I feel like my life has just started. I finally feel like I have a goal, and I also have someone to strive for that goal with.

It took me a long time to find someone who appreciates the simple things in life. A crackling fire and some s’mores, pruning some tomatoes, or just getting high in her fort and dancing. She’s so much more than I had ever hoped for, yet feels like she’s sometimes not enough.

Even though she’s the reason I even want to do anything. The reason this got built, and anything after it.

I’ve finally found someone who appreciates old, weathered wood, and realizes that rich soil is one of the most valuable things that we can have in our lives.

With rich soil you can grow anything.

Going To Build Some Gardens

Hi there, folks. For anyone that follows our WordPress blog, you may have noticed that we haven’t been posting there lately. It’s been a few months and we’re sorry, but we’ve been putting everything we get time for on our Steemit blog. The only reason is really that we get rewarded in a cryptocurrency called Steem for posting there.

The good news is that some developers got together and created a plugin called SteemPress. Now we are able to post in WordPress and it will simultaneously post to our Steemit account.

So without further ado, we will get down to business.

We have been planting everything in containers and crates we have found at the dump or acquired over the years. We had three small raised beds, but they weren’t really working as well as we had hoped so we pulled them out.

Now we needed something to put in their spot but we didn’t want to spend a bunch of money.

Luckily we live in an area of abundance.

This is Geddes Bay. There’s a lot of free logs here.

So we hooked on to our little trailer and headed for the lake.

It was hot. That was enough work for the day.

We didn’t want to overload it, so we took what we figured we would need for an 8’x4′ garden bed.

My helper required payment for services rendered. Luckily she wasn’t charging more than I could afford. 

We were planning on doing some stone beds, but the sheer amount of work was daunting. This provided a free chance to try something that would take a lot less time and effort, but mostly it doesn’t require much skill.

I have never worked with stone before and Gerri would like to get some beds in this summer, so it looks like we will be starting with wood.

I figure we can get enough for an 8×4 bed every trip to the bay, so we may get another two or three beds in this summer. It’s somewhere we enjoy going, just to hang out, so now we can feel productive at the same time.

As for this bed, stay tuned to see how it turns out.

 

 

 

We Felt The Need To Honour These

These are the last of our canned peaches from last season and they are the best we have ever done.

The secret was adding cinnamon to the syrup.

Before that, we would add different mints from the garden, but this year Gerri went with cinnamon and it was a total winner. She just threw some sticks in as she boiled it and voila! It was a wonderful treat all winter long.

Now we are looking forward to canning two cases this year.

Come on, who likes to ration yourself and still run out? Not us.

Disaster must be averted

(I’m going to start copying posts that we put on Steemit over to here because why not? This is one of those posts.)

tomato-food-nutrition-plant-161554.jpeg
(photo from pexels.com)
I have set alarms in my calendar to remind me to plant things. This is due to last year when we had hundreds of tomatoes die from frost when they were still green. The cherry tomatoes that we bought from the greenhouse were great, but the ones I started were a bigger disappointment than the governments concern over our environment.

For one thing, I started them a month late. I didn’t know it was a month late, because I had never planted vegetables before, but it most definitely was. The plants were lush and beautiful, and showed a lot of promise, but the light moves kind of weird up here and by the time things should have been ripening up, we weren’t getting the sun we were when the plants were younger as it was mostly behind the neighbour’s trees.

So today I am planting the Beefsteaks. I have about 35-40 seeds and I think I’ll plant 1 per plug because I planted two last year and almost all came up. Then I was trying to separate them and mangling the odd one. I figure that if any don’t germinate I will just have some extra seed starting mix.

Keep in mind that this is only our second year of trying to garden, so we are going on a small scale until we learn the ins and outs of it. We have a tiny, mostly shady yard, so we can’t go crazy. Yet.

After the tomatoes, I think we’ll try a few cabbages again. The same thing happened with them last year. A couple of fist-sized heads and some huge leaves was all we got. The potatoes did well, so I guess we will plant them in containers again this year. Gerri canned up a bunch of them last year and they were delicious. They were just red seed potatoes from our local hardware store, but they produced well. I might try the stacking thing again, but I will put it on a board or plastic to keep the ants out. They are who I am blaming for the bad batch we had. Two kilograms of seed potatoes produced 2.4 kilograms of potatoes. Not really worth the effort in my opinion.

We’ll see how it fares this year.

Tomorrow it’s the snapdragons.

Any tips and tricks for growing in a northern climate would be gratefully accepted. We’re between zone 2 and 3 here.

Cheers!