Spring 2017 Cats and Garden

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The long cold winter is finally giving way to warmer days and the garden is slowly coming back to life. Whenever I spend time out in the garden I have my little furry companions out to help me. They’re so cute!

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The valerian near the chicken coop is going to be huge this year, I can tell. The lungwort is blooming, the lupines are pushing up with their star-shaped leaves and the rhubarb has definitely multiplied!

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Here are a couple of pots of wild mint that I harvested down at the river last year, don’t know what kind exactly but glad they made it! It has a fresh, mild minty flavor.

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Of course, not all the girls wanted to join me in the garden today, this little one was content to lounge inside on her heated cat bed until my photo-taking woke her up!

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We Like Packages

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I always leave boxes and packaging out for shipments I’ve received so the cats can fully exhaust their “usefulness”. They loved this fancy shredded paper from Scotland! It will be destined for the compost pile after hanging out under some rabbit cages for a bit.

Of course it means waking up to this scene every day for a week. Totally worth it.

New Kayak!

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I have boats on the brain today!

I’ve always wanted a kayak, but even more so after my boyfriend introduced me to ocean kayaking a few years back. He has a pair of SOT (sit-on-top) kayaks that we enjoyed using for sightseeing, short journeys out to nearby islands and rockhounding along the shore. However he’s once again back up north, this time taking position of editor for a paper in Inuvik, NWT. I miss him already!

So it was finally time to get my own!

I initially had my sights set on basically the same kayak my boyfriend has, an eMotion around 6-8 feet long. Too bad it’s nearly impossible to find this brand in BC, but there are some models by other companies that are very similar. I had also read in a few places that these smaller kayaks can be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is exactly what I planned to try.

I wanted something suitable for fishing, since if I’m out on the water alone I know I won’t be able to resist. There are a wide range of fishing kayaks on the market, but they are all in drab colors and outfitted with more fancy gear than I think I need. I want something small, light, uncomplicated and with room to bring the dog who probably loves boating more than I do.

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I decided to settle on the Perception Tribe 9.5 in sunset. I would have preferred another color, but this was the only one in this model they had left. That’s ok, I like the high visibility of the yellow/orange/red and since it’s nearly September, the new kayak shipments won’t be in until February. If I want any paddling this season it was this little boat or nothing!

I really like the stability, self-draining and unsinkableness of the SOTs. You can easily swim off them, stand upright on them and take them in quite rough ocean. This one can hold 300 pounds and weighing only 46 pounds I can just manage to carry it myself.

I also picked up a fiberglass paddle, lifejacket, floating tow line (regulation), a pair of neoprene shorts, a paddle leash and a fishing rod mount that I will install myself.

It turns out this 9.5 foot boat CAN be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is great, but I’m hoping to rig up a foam and strap system to put it on the roof, as having it in the car restricts visibility a bit. I’ve done the research and I know I can secure it safely.

Now where to go first??

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Cats and Bees

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When I got my bees one of the things I wondered was would they get along with my cats? Would they think the kitties were small furry threats and attack them?

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Well, what has happened is that the cats have decided they like the bees very much and I usually have at least one small furry supervisor for each hive inspection.

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If they’re not lounging on top of empty brood boxes or trying to sharpen their claws on queen excluders, they’re posted on or beside the hives keeping watch. The bees don’t seem to mind one bit.

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February 29th Garden

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Peonies coming up

March has not yet hit, but the garden is already back in full force. Some things like the kale, calendula, and chamomile have been going strong all winter long.

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Cavolo Nero (aka black kale/Lacinato kale) getting ready to flower

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Self-seeded and transplanted red Russian kale from last year is starting to take off, this is a 5 gallon pot!

I wandered around today with Parsley the cat as my companion and took some pictures to share with you.  I think we’re going to have a prolific year!

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“I have decided to supervise this activity.”

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Digitalis or foxglove, started last year from seed. Should flower this year!

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Blue and pink delphiniums started super early

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Looks like I may get a few artichokes this year! Check out the self-seeded kale all around it…

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Princess Parsley surveying the raised beds

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Cheerful mini daffodils surrounded by sweet woodruff

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Some potted up Egyptian walking onions and self-seeded miner’s lettuce

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Potted up prickly pear cactus

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I love how thickly last year’s lupines are coming in

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And of course the arugula, one of my favorites. It’s already trying to bolt!

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Good thing I have all this baby arugula started. I could eat arugula all day.

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Young red mustard greens

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One of the little bee balms from last year now trying to engulf its pot. I think this is the red flowering one

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Moroccan tea mint doing excellently, as expected

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Hops are popping up

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This is a Persian cornflower I got late last year on sale. Can’t wait to see the blooms!

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My big pink tea rose in the front yard is looking good even after being blown down and staked back up last year

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The little hyssop under the nest box made it though too. This herb is too strong-tasting for me straight up but a few leaves chiffonaded into a salad are delicious

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The calendula plants that made it through the winter are pretty scraggly, but new babies are coming up all over the place now

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The wallflower is bravely bursting forth

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Valerian at the foot of the coop off to a good start

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Satisfied ruler of all she can see