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.

less pressing issues

Our 7kw Kubota diesel generator would normally be found on a tractor. I don’t know how old this one is. I would suggest close to thirty years. We have been told it will long out live us all.

Late in the afternoon, one day last week, the fan belt on it died. We had thought about having a spare fan belt on hand for years (ten) but never got around to it. One other guy on the island has a similar generator. He had three spare fanbelts. (that is the kind of guy he is) Traded him a bottle of home made antipasto for it and E had the generator fixed by dinner.

This week, again, it stopped. Just wouldn’t start. Without so much as an adios it just quit. Fortunately we have a spare Yamaha 6600 which we have as a back up. You know, just in case. We have long wanted to hook it up with the Kubota so that it would just require a simple switch to change from one to the other. But E’s to do list is long and that particular job was way down the list.

The weather has been miserable lately and E didn’t feel like working in the rain to sort it all out so he just manually plugged the backup Yamaha into our system to solve the immediate problem. We have had all the power we needed for the last couple of days with our backup but, with better weather today, he set out for the gen shed to solve his problem d’jour. Job list, item one, fix Kubota generator.

One of the suggestions on the google forum for Kubota starter problems was “if all else fails tap it with a hammer”. E decided to “before trying anything” tap the starter with a hammer. Three taps and the generator started and is running like a charm.

My friend came to the rescue yesterday lending me 27 empty one-gallon plant pots so I could continue potting up the tomatoes. I spent the day today mixing soils together and prepping them for when I need to move tomatoes up to that size pot. Weather looks to be really great next week so there is hope for great progress in the growth of the greenhouse plants..

All plants have now been moved up to the greenhouse, although all are in varying stages of development, I am optimistic they will be ready for the plant sale. There are a ton of sweet peppers thriving, which I hadn’t expected. I learned last year to keep them in five-gallon, black plastic plant pots throughout the summer rather than planting them in the garden. The ones in the pots last year were three times the size of the ones moved into the garden soil. The bonus is that in September they can also be moved into the greenhouse to continue production. With the same thought in mind the plan is to plant a few tomatoes into big black pots to then also bring into the greenhouse in September.

140 onions (70 red and 70 yellow) have now been planted in between the rows of garlic. The thinking is, that space is limited and, when the onions are getting bigger and need space, the garlic will already have been harvested in July.

E thought fixing the generator would take the whole day, maybe need some parts ordered on-line, instead it took ten minutes. This freed up his day to spend dealing with

less pressing issues.

just a bit

This post is a little racy so, if you are easily shocked, perhaps take the night off and come back tomorrow for more discussion about water tanks, whales and such.

If you are like me you had a wonderful day in the greenhouse potting up tomatoes, until you were disturbed by the excessive love making of the otter who seem to have taken over the cliff next to the garden. You probably thought it improper to video their activities but I didn’t. In my never ending desire to entertain my readers with the realities of our life on the nature channel, I present to you..

Love otter style. Sound up!

It would not be an exaggeration to state that there are a gazillion tomatoes right now in my greenhouse. It isn’t just tomatoes, there are peppers and cabbage and marigolds. Millions of them!! With the weather cooperating now, I am fairly optimistic they will all survive, as long as they can get properly potted up this month. In truth, although a little overwhelming at times, I quite enjoy it. It is cathartic.

We spent our first night in this house on the nature channel exactly ten years ago. As you can see, things have changed,

just a bit.

would see you

My high school years were the inspiration for “That 70’s show” except, at our hangout, there were a lot more of us and “Eric” had a black lab named Duke. It is inconceivable to me that it was fifty years ago that we threw the caps of our little brown stubbies into a giant basket by the basement TV while his Mother baked pies upstairs. Weather permitting we would move our partying to bonfires at Spanish Banks West.

Over the years, one of the high school gang would give me a call if he was in town, and we would go for a drink. Once his parents were gone he had no reason to come back to Vancouver. He could never understand why I never left, he couldn’t wait to leave. We met in Kindergarten and he was a part of most of the major events of my formative years. We progressed from elementary school to hanging with the high school gang in a basement to, I don’t know how to describe it… He taught me how to do my taxes, lectured me on skipping out of high school classes and at one point, when I was 20, drove me to Abbotsford and forced me to meet my father for the first time. He took me to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid on a motorcycle over the Lions Gate Bridge.

In ’81 he flew in to see his parents and we met for our usual drink. It was different this time though ’cause I had met, and was living with E. He said to me “you seem different”. I told him I was really happy and was going to marry “this new guy”. He promised to come back from Saudi for our wedding, and he did.

As E and I now sit in the hot tub when the sun goes down, enjoying the view with sea lions randomly peeking their heads up to look at us, we acknowledge that we are indeed living our best life. We are so fortunate to have each other and to have these days still together. Life is so friggin’ short, we do not take them for granted.

The last time I saw Bill was at the local Ladner pub in 2008. He called, ’cause he was in town wrapping up his Mom’s affairs. I managed to track down three of the other guys and E came to take a picture. After 60 years of friendship with you Bill, and yes you will always be Bill to me, not Stu, I just assumed our random drinks together would go on ’til, well forever.

I didn’t realize this would be the last time

I would see you

lot of projects

I was up early this morning, as usual, and was greeted with thunder, lightning and hail. HAIL! It is April 12. APRIL 12! I don’t mean to reduce this blog to a discussion of the weather but geez I am fed up.

All of the baby veggie plants have been moved down to the house and are huddled around the fire. I am having a plant sale/garden party in May, and have received great support from my friends. More than half of the plants have already been spoken for. A few types are even sold out. Hopefully the tomato gods will look kindly on my little babies and provide me with the beauty plants we had last year. I gave away 55 last year.

This year I am charging, basically to cover the costs of the soil, but am providing wine and cheese in return. I have sent the flyer out to my gardening friends on the island who have wanted tomatoes before. If I missed you let me know.

E has benefitted from the adage, ‘happy wife happy life’, when I have had ideas of how to improve our life, so he is usually pretty good about supporting my project ideas. However, nothing happens faster on this property than a project which is his idea. Not only was the hot tub project his but it is one he has been lobbying for since we got here. His back causes him endless problems and on more days than not he walks about the house in the same position as his Grandma P.

We picked up the hot tub on Saturday. E power washed the deck when we got home. During a brief warm spell on Sunday he stained a small portion of the deck and it had cured by this morning when, during the hail storm, E put the tub on it. It has been filled with 250 gallons of hot water from our Bosch on-demand hot water heater and is now sitting on the deck waiting for the hockey game to finish (and the rain) to have our first bottle of wine under the stars.

I have been hesitant to have a wood fire heated hot tub anywhere near our house, and resisted the whole concept, until our friends highly recommended a Softtub. These tubs run on 110 volts and will use maybe 2.5 kwh per day with all seven jets running for 20 minutes a day. With our 16 solar panels and 5000 watts of power we should be in good shape. During winter we might need to top up power with a wee generator but we are prepared to accept the cost.

I became more supportive of the hot tub idea once I realized E would feel better with a soak after working on my projects. This water in this tub is always hot so he can pop in and out all day to rest his back between my projects and I have a

lot of projects