Gardening on a smaller scale

Gardening on various scales from acres down to inches (in metric).

100 metre scale

Our property is just under 13 acres/ just over 5 hectares.

Most of it is bush, with two creeks that meet downstream.

I garden about an acre, about half mowed grass (“lawn” sounds much neater than our grass).  Flower beds and vegetables struggle with weeds for the rest, under more or less control depending on whether I’m working locally or out of town.

Metre scale

My wife has arthritis so she sticks to a smaller challenge, two 1m square boxes on either side of the front path.  Even they got taken over by deep-rooted perennial weeds so I had to take all the soil out and run it through this handy sieve:

Me, sieving soil
Me, sieving soil

I haven’t seen these used as actual milk crates for a long time, but they continue to have many uses.

But it’s hard work when you haven’t used gardening muscles for several months.

Centimetre scale

From the 100m2 scale to 1m2 scale to cm2 scale, here are some mosses that turned into their own little garden.

You don’t have to be an angiosperm to be attractive.

Moss garden
Moss garden

Birds changing into their spring outfits

Goldfinches and turkeys in their spring outfits.

Now the migrants are here, they are getting ready for breeding.

The blackbirds I already showed. They just had red streaks when they first arrived.  The goldfinches were rather drab, but now they really are gold:

Goldfinches
Goldfinches
More Goldfinches
More Goldfinches

As I think I said before, the finches are certainly migrants this year as they were absent for most of this particularly tough winter, but I’ve heard that even when we have them year-round, it is a different set that breeds here, our winter finches come from even further north.

On the other hand, the turkeys have been here all year but as a flock. Now there is a female nesting. I saw the male doing his dance, looking very flamenco, but behind the manure pile so I couldn’t get a good picture. Here, he is just ambling along but brighter in colour than my last set of pictures when he was with the flock. The female is following and I don’t think this was display behaviour as she was behind him; she was probably just stretching her wings.

Male turkey
Male turkey
Female turkey
Female turkey

Trilliums and garden bulbs

The trilliums are Ontario’s provincial flower and they are just beginning to emerge from the leaf litter in the forest.  Soon there will be a carpet of them in purple and white.

Trilliums emerging
Trilliums emerging

I’m not sure why this one is so much further ahead. Still, some variation will increase the chances some will survive climate change.

Trillium in bud
Trillium in bud

And here are some spring bulbs. I planted these years ago and have forgotten what they are. Does anyone know? They look like miniature hyacinths (and probably are, but I’m assuming they have a more specific name).

Hyacinths?
Hyacinths?

And these are the most colourful at the moment. Hoping a few daffodils open before we leave for England.

Chianodoxa
Chianodoxa

 

Angry Birds

By way of contrast with my “Love Bird” picture of the pair of cardinals, this red-winged blackbird is pretty feisty defending it’s territory, mostly from other blackbirds, but I just saw it seeing off a Cooper’s Hawk, somehow outmanoeuvering it so that the blackbird was always above the hawk in spite of twists and turns.  No other birds to be seen, so that blackbird was very brave.

Red-winged blackbird 1
Red-winged blackbird 1
Red-winged blackbird 2
Red-winged blackbird 2

 

Red-winged blackbird 3
Red-winged blackbird 3

Multi-tasking – so much to do before holiday

Almost out of bread so time to bake some more:

Baking
Baking

OK, I don’t usually wear the hat for baking, but that’s show business.

We’re going to England on Wednesday so lots to do this weekend.

Including getting some work done in the garden.  Those veggies won’t grow themselves but the weeds will, so time to prepare for the former by reducing the latter.

Rototilling
Rototilling

Actually, this bed is for sunflowers, which the birds will enjoy and they’re already going over the tilled ground for worms and insects.  I always debate the ethics of burning the gas (petrol) but 1l will do my large veggie garden which is not enough for one trip to the grocery store so the savings over what the farmer would take, the shipping to the store and saving at least one trip per year is already ahead on CO2 production.  Plus I’m growing lots of new trees.  Well, OK, they’re growing themselves without help.

Those daffodils are just waiting until we’re gone to open.  I just talked to my dad in England and he was dead-heading his daffodils, so we’ve missed them there and now will miss the best here.

One problem with multi-tasking is that things get ahead of you:

Bread overflow
Bread overflow

Luckily I was just in time, it hadn’t stuck to the shelf yet so no harm done.  The hardest part is yet to come: waiting the last few minutes when you can smell the finished bread but it’s not quite ready to come out.