St. Bernard, Nova Scotia
We had enough April showers that we are now entitled to rather a lot of May flowers. We did rather well with daffodils this year, but they are starting to fade. However, the tulips are starting to look good. I had forgotten where all I had planted them in the fall, so it has been fun seeing where they popped up. The ones that are already open are looking good, and there are plenty more to come.
Down in the garden, I have been planting seeds for carrots, parsnip, spinach, chard, and mixed salad greens. There is still plenty more planting to do. Hopefully we get some warm weather soon so they will start growing.
The asparagus got off to a promising start a couple of weeks ago, but has slowed down. We may have to implement some slug control measures. It is still ahead of where it was last year at this time, so all is not lost yet. We won't be harvesting any this year, though.
On the other hand, the rhubarb is fixing to take over the world! We were forced to have rhubarb-strawberry grunt for lunch today, just to thin out the plants. The strawberries, I hasten to add, were frozen from last year's harvest. The strawberry beds look good, but we have a few weeks to wait yet before we start harvesting them this year.
Most of the work in the garden right now consists of weeding. At this time of year, if you don't stay ahead of the weeds, the jungle will take over within a week. Whether or not April showers bring May flowers, they sure do bring weeds!
On Friday, we took Larkin for an outing to visit with some other greyhounds. We have an on-island dogsitter already lined up, but we need to have several options for times when we want to get away. We contacted, through an online network of greyhound owners, someone nearby on Vancouver Island who has two greyhounds, and we went for a visit to see how the dogs got along. It was a good match, and before too long, Larkin was playing in the back yard with his two hounds.
We plan to check out one more greyhound owner in the area soon. Having three dogsitting options will allow some flexibility if people are busy or on vacation.
The new music room now has rafters and a front wall. However, if you look in the photo to the right of the building, between it and the green toolshed, you will see a large maple tree right by the back corner of the building. It was so close, in fact, that the builder had to cut one of the rafters short in order to fit it in place around the tree. The tree had to go. In fact it and another maple on the other side both had to go. We called up "Wild Bill", the local arborist, and both trees are now firewood. Work on the music room will resume this week.
The big news this week is the weather. It finally feels like summer. After a couple of years with long, cool springs, we have been itching for a year with some real warmth. As long as the weather doesn't regress, this year is shaping up well. A summer that lasts from May to October can be glorious, even if it scares my firefighter side.
We recorded our first two days over 20 degrees this weekend, and the forecast for tomorrow calls for 25, with sunshine right through the week. It is perfect for germinating the seeds I planted last week: beans, beets, lettuce, and kale. (I may be the only gardener on Denman who plants kale: most people here can't kill it.)
The daffodils are fading, but the tulips are putting on a good show.
The apple and pear trees are covered in blossoms. In the last couple of years, cool weather affected the availability of bees for pollination at blossom time, resulting in poor harvests. Today, the apple trees were buzzing with bees. It could be a good year.
There are flower buds on the strawberries. Just in time, as we are starting to run low on last year's frozen berries.
We saw our first dragonflies this week. They are not a moment too soon. The gnats that preceded the emergence of the dragonflies were really annoying. They would get up under my hat brim and bite a line across my forehead. Suddenly, there are no more gnats. We really like having a healthy dragonfly population here. All summer, waves of different types of dragonfly take care of our mosquitoes.
Work is proceeding on the music room, albeit slowly. We had a word with our builder and hopefully progress will be more rapid from now on. The windows were delivered this week. Today, I started the electric rough-in.
On Saturday, we went over to Hornby Island to visit with some more greyhounds. Larkin likes other dogs, but she especially likes being around other greyhounds. The folks on Hornby have two greyhounds of their own, and are currently fostering a third, named Hoku. The two hounds of their own are fairly elderly and sedate, but Hoku is just a pup at a year and a half. She and Larkin instantly became best friends and romped through the garden together at 60 km/h. We all went down to the beach at Tribune Bay, where we met some other dogs and generally had a good time.
While it would be tempting to adopt Hoku to give Larkin a pal, we are not sure we want to have two hounds. However, we are gently twisting the arm of our Fire Chief, a former greyhound owner, to adopt one.
This was a week of mostly nice summery weather.
The Denman Farmers' Market started up on Saturday for the summer. This is a popular attraction, and is a source of fresh, organic, locally-grown produce, especially later in the season once the various harvests get going. It is also a place where local artisans sell their crafts, and where community groups can promote their messages, raise funds, and sign up members. With the pleasant weather, it got off to a good start for the season.
With the warmer weather, dragonflies have started hatching. Wile at the farmers' market, this beutiful golden dragonfly landed on someone's hand, and stayed there long enough for portraits. Dragonflies are among our favourite insects, because they keep the population of mosquitoes and biting flies under control. We have a good environment for them at our place, apparently, and several different species emerge at various times all summer. We enjoy watching their aerobatic manoeuvers as they hunt down the mosquitoes.
Work continues on the music room, though not as fast as we would like. There is tar-paper on the walls, and the floor has been prepped for the concrete slab pour on Tuesday. The roof, which is currently tarped against the rain, will be going on this week as well, and we are expecting a delivery of cedar siding on Tuesday as well.
I have been working on the electrical rough-in. I can't complete it until the concrete is in, but then I need to finish it quickly so that the insulation can go in. It will be nice to get my workshop space back!
The Denman Island Pottery Tour was held this weekend. We have seen all the studios before, so we just went to a few of our favourite potters' studios. We were very well behaved, and only bought one small bowl.
I was hoping to take some photos of the solar eclipse on Suday afternoon, but the weather saw fit to turn miserable just in time for it. I had to make do with looking at photos on the Internet. I am trying to get as much practice as I can photographing the Sun to get ready for the Venus Transit next month. I hope the weather is more cooperative for that event. There won't be another Venus Transit until the year 2117.
The cats have been feeling neglected with all the greyhound photos lately, so here is a picture of Owen enjoying a sunbeam.
Copyright © 2013 Keith Walker
Last modified: 6-May-2013