to see to

For years a pair of Canadian Geese have said good morning to me at sunrise, floated about the waters below my deck during the day and then bid me farewell before returning to their home at dusk. Every day this goes on and, if you have spent any time with me at all over the last few weeks, you will know that I have been preoccupied with the sudden disappearance and presumed death of one of them. Sometimes, the nature channel can be sad.

For those in the back keeping score there were 1600 gallons of water stored in our tanks on May 20th last year. This year there are 7400 and the summer is only just beginning. The temperature hit 20 C yesterday for the first time this year. Assuming it continues to stay warm, 2022 could eventually be a great year in the garden. The plants in the greenhouse are finally thriving, thanks in no small part to Anne caring for them while I was away.

Yes, we have been away. You know there must have been important doings going on for us to leave the island, even if it was only for four nights, and indeed there were. We were in town to occupy our granddaughter while her brother safely arrived in their parent’s arms. It was a most welcome event and we were absolutely thrilled to help in any way we could.

Canadian Geese mate for life, and our male goose has been swimming back and forth in front of us by himself in recent weeks and it has made me so sad to watch him. I blamed the eagles who hunt from the trees next to our house and have called them all kinds of disparaging names. I know, I know eagles have to eat, it is the circle of life yadda yadda yadda but I hated watching this poor fellow alone, pining, I thought, for his partner.

But, it turns out, the female goose wasn’t missing or eagle food, she just had more important matters

to see to

fond of them

Everyone makes rookie mistakes when they move to an island like this. My neighbours must have laughed and laughed when we barged over a load of pebbles to the island for a path in the garden. Rocks to an island made of large sandstone rock with a gazillion little sandstone rocks everywhere. EVERYWHERE, and, especially, everywhere in the garden. I have spent a very good portion of my time living here over the last ten years moving island rocks into buckets, out of the garden, off the driveway, and out of my shoes.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people willing to give advice and share their experiences with the new islanders. All they have to do is ask. If not asked, everyone will keep to their own business and let you figure it out on your own. If you ask for advice and don’t follow it, you have only yourself to blame when, for example, you have to be rescued from your sinking aluminum boat with the motor which was too heavy. But, as I said, all of us have made mistakes.

Fortunately, and I say this with some trepidation that I am going to jinx things, but other than a pair of glasses, we haven’t dropped anything into the ocean when loading our belongings on and off the boat. I know of others who have lost furniture. We always wear life jackets on the boat and I continue to wear mine when we are off-loading ’cause I am sure that if I ever do fall in, it will be when we are backing and forthing along the narrow finger beside the boat carrying heavy boxes. I can just see me ever so acrobatically falling in while heroically saving the box of groceries. For just such a situation we wear auto hydrostatic life jackets which inflate when wet but are lightweight and comfortable when dry. I often forget it is even on.

I don’t know where I am going with this but, if not obvious yet, I spent some time today pulling hundreds of little rocks out of the iris bed when I was supposed to be weeding. The bed is a mess and very high on my list of things to deal with this summer. I had thought at one point I would move the iris, dig out the bed and plant roses until I realized the bed is about four inches deep and actually just a rock ledge with iris planted on it. As I pulled all those little rocks out and threw them on the path I was reminded of the money I wasted bringing path pebbles to the island.

The good news from the greenhouse, because I know you have been worried, is that the tomatoes are alive. I didn’t kill them with my soapy spray. In fact, three of the four which were really damaged by the white fly yesterday give every impression of a complete recovery. So a collective whew!!!

And, because you have been so patient to read along so far, I include tonight a video of me feeding my sweet little squirrels. We have two who have been with us since we got here. I have grown quite

fond of them

get the memo

Since the whole romancing otter event two weeks ago, there has been little opportunity here on the nature channel to entertain you. To avoid reader disappointment I will again include a favorite video clip from the past. With any luck there be some newer activity to show you before I run out of favourite old videos.

When I went up to the greenhouse today, I discovered what could be a huge disaster. There are tomatoes which have obviously been under some sort of attack. Upon closer inspection, a few have white fly. Yikes. we could lose everything! I suspect the flies came in on some bedding plants I bought at Rona last week which are still sitting in the greenhouse waiting for the warm weather to arrive.

Before the fly infestation spreads too far I have sprayed everything. A mixture of grated homemade soap, warm water and a drop of vegetable oil shaken up in a spray bottle has always been my go to for aphids on roses but I was hesitant to use it on the tomatoes. After all, aren’t we always told not to let tomato leaves get wet? They are all sprayed now. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t go up to find everything dead.

In addition to the soap spray, I made a white fly trap… Yellow paper coated in a mixture of corn syrup mixed with an equal amount of water. I cooked it down until it was a glue and once cooled, I painted it on the yellow paper to dry. Tomorrow I will hang it in the greenhouse, with my fingers then crossed.

E has now redesigned his solar hot water project three or four times. Today, he rebuilt the first two boxes to add metal sheets painted black to the inside of the boxes, under the tubes. He still had extra materials so built and added a third box to the system.. It is an ongoing experiment…

Then, he stained a bit more of the deck…

The area in front of our house is a rockfish protection area and fishing is not allowed. The sea lions apparently didn’t

get the memo

really darned cute

Normally, I am a big fan of birds, big and small. I feed them, provide baths for their enjoyment and make sure there are lots of plants and flowers for their food and entertainment in the garden. Endless hours are spent watching these welcome visitors, and I have cared for countless injured hummers, gold finch and even a hawk, but I find it very difficult to see any redeeming qualities in the turkey vultures who live on our lane. They are just the ugliest creatures about and have no business hunting the ducks in front of our house. The ducks are very much alive, get lost….

Did I mention that we opened up the rain catchment system again? First, I washed the patio table every day until there were no more signs of pollen. E then power washed the gutters and, on April 26th, we opened the system which had been closed since March 3rd. The only positive from the crappy weather lately is that we can try to get the water tanks full to the brim again. I will let you know what the levels are when we begin the summer. If the summer ever begins.

The greenhouse is officially full. I spend the majority of my time now rearranging plants to try to fit them in more efficiently. I decided to pot up the eight unmarked tomatoes and will keep them for myself. I had eight other tomatoes I wasn’t going to pot up ’cause they were so tiny but I will keep them too and just baby them in the greenhouse longer than the rest.

There is a lot that we see living here that I, for one, had certainly never seen before. I don’t know about you, but when a beaver swam in the ocean in front of our friend’s place, it was definitely a first. It happened a few years ago but a lot of you probably haven’t seen the video. I added music ’cause the whole minute just makes me so happy when I watch it.

Most of what we see here is nicer to look at than the turkey vulture and sometimes it’s

really darned cute

Looked there yet

This is a little embarrassing, I lost the honey crisp apples seedlings. I don’t mean they died, I mean I actually lost them.

To alleviate the boredom of more tomato talk tonight I will finish with a favourite video I took here on the nature channel of a beaver swimming in the ocean with a pack of otters investigating him as he lay on the rocks after the swim. It should be mentioned beavers aren’t supposed to like salt water. It was taken a few years ago but a lot of you are new and maybe haven’t seen it.

Today, I potted up what should be the last of the tomatoes needed for the plant sale at the end of the month. The good news for my friends reading who have ordered tomatoes, is that I will be able to fulfill everyones first choices with a few extra for anyone who needs more. Who doesn’t always need more tomatoes than they thought? 132 tomatoes are ready to go with only 20 unspoken for.

Other than watering, I haven’t really done anything with the peppers or cucumbers lately. With the tomatoes sorted out I took a minute to look at the peppers. It should be mentioned at this point that I spent a lot of money, spared no expense if you will, to order 500 popsicles sticks from Amazon so that I could diligently label all of the baby plants.

Upon investigation there seemed to be way more peppers than I thought I had planted. Twelve little plants marked as green peppers were quite definitely tomatoes. Sigh, I set them aside and won’t pot them up unless someone wants discount mystery tomatoes. I suspect they are Grenadero but can’t sell them as such. I bravely then went to check on my baby honey crisp apples.

I would like to stress at this point that the apple seeds were gently planted and specifically kept separate from the tomato seedlings in little plastic pots.

Yet, today, they too have become tomatoes.

I have absolutely no idea where the honey crisp apple seedlings have gone. Maybe they are in with the cucumbers, I haven’t

looked there yet

plate of pasta

It’s a good day when we get our intended jobs done. To increase the possibility that we will accomplish what we hope to, we begin with low expectations. After all, we must work very hard at conserving our energy for the thirty years we have left here.

My plan, as is usual these days, was to pot up more tomatoes. I now have 114 one-gallon pots complete. Those tomatoes require no more work on my part, but for a bit of watering, until the end of May. They will get big and strong in these pots with lots of room for some solid root growth before they go into the ground. I have about twenty still to pot up but I doubt they will get as far as the one-gallon pot stage in time. That is ok, my friends can still plant the the smaller ones. They will produce the same. The pumpkins are in one-gallon pots too but the peppers and cucumbers are proving slower.

I moved the baby roses, Dahlias and Daphne O’doro out to the garden because I am running out of space in the greenhouse. Beet and cabbage starts were planted in the soil of the right-hand garden bed. The rest of this bed will be filled with an assortment of vegetables and the tomatoes, which were in this bed last year, will move to the other main bed. All going well the pumpkins will go in the cloth bags which housed potatoes last year. I am not growing potatoes this year. No room!

E is busy on his new pet project. In an effort to let the sun assume more of the responsibility for heating the water for the hot tub, he has designed a black box full of black tubing hooked up to a pond sized pump to the tub. Two of the boxes now sit in front of the deck facing the hot south sun. They will be attached permanently to the deck once the fine details are sorted. It is an experiment designed and built by my MacGyver with left over bits from the reno.

We finished the day by doing our taxes. We tried to wait until the last possible moment and then found out they aren’t due ’til the 2nd.

We continue to be surrounded by no whales.

It was a perfectly manageable list of things to do today which were accomplished happily, leaving plenty of time to watch the Blue Jays with a bottle of home made red and a big

plate of pasta.