Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tidying up the fields and flowers in bloom.



Up until about 2010 we were still cutting hay on the farm.  Now that we no longer do that Eric goes out with the brush mower pulled by his 1963, 55hp David Brown tractor.  We’ve had this tractor since 1978 and it came with a rebuilt engine and new clutches and then Eric put new tires on it after he stripped it down and painted it.   When he got the tractor Eric got rid of the lousy generator charging system and put a GMC alternator on it and it’s been great ever since.  The only repair necessary has been a bebuild of the fuel injector pump.  It has done almost all of the work on the place over the years, plowing, discing, haying, brush mowing, fertilizer spreading and snowblowing the road into the farm and it still runs like a champ!


Isn’t it cute!  Later on we bought the Kubota which meant that Eric had a cab when he was blowing snow in the winter. 

While Eric is mowing the fields to tidy them up I’m on our 20 year old 20hp Craftsman riding lawnmower tidying up the yard.  Needless to say Eric is meticulous about maintenance so most of our equipment has never been replaced. 


The gardens are growing like mad.


Baptisia….tall with blue sweet pea like flowers that later become huge pods.  Not a plant that you would see very often.


A bit blurry but you can see how much the bumble bees love it.


Thalictrum…or Meadow Rue. Tall and it’s blooms are like a floating cotton candy puff …I have it all over the yard …even in pink.  I do have to make sure I dead head it after blooming as it’s voracious self seeder. 


Tradescantia or Spiderwort in it’s yellow form.  Looks lovely with it’s blue flowers.  When I started flower gardening over thirty years ago (vegetables came first!) I found that I needed to learn the Latin names of plants.  I wanted to own every plant I could find and the only way to differentiate between them was by their Latin names. So…I wish I’d learned Spanish for my travels to Mexico but I also wish I’d taken Latin for my gardening addiction!  French has been of absolutely no use to me at all.  As time has passed my love of “ all “ plants has waned and my criteria for a plant to warrant space in my garden has tightened up.  Thugs are slowly being eliminated!  If a plant spreads too fast or self seeds all over the place I dig it up and toss it into the pit that Eric dug for me with the back hoe.  That way he can cover up the pit (so the plants don’t spread) and dig me a new one.    Some self seeders and spreaders are tolerated if they are exceptional and manageable such as Thalictrum and Alchemilla Mollis or Lady’s mantle.


A lovely old white variety of peony that used to bloom beside the house where I grew up in Burnaby.  After my mother passed away at the young age of 58 I dug it up and brought it to Terrace to bloom in my garden.  I believe it is called Maxima and it has a lovely scent and is tough as nails.  Plus…it reminds me of my mother.  Funny enough it came with some red and yellow tulips around it and they never died out. 


It will take Eric days to mow all the fields but it will look neat and tidy when he’s done.  It takes all of our effort to keep the place groomed, brushed and weeded to look it’s best.  To Eric’s left is my large day lily border that will bloom in mid summer. 


The bearded iris’s are blooming next to the poppies.  I’m not fond of orange in the garden but it looks nice next to the purple iris’s. 

Another snippet of the Tycho’s summer life in Terrace!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Water Line To The RV Building

When we got home this year Eric decided it was time to get water to the building where the 5th wheel is stored.  He washes and waxes the 5th wheel over the summer and that has meant dragging a hose from the garden over the lawn to get water and it is not convenient at all.  We already have power and a septic tank there but…not water. 


This is a picture from when we got home at the beginning of May and you can see not much of anything is growing.  On the left is the hosta garden and they are just poking their heads up out of the ground.  Far in the distance on the right you can see a speck of brown which is our pump house building.  In the early days before we had the gravity water system we used a shallow well.   The water line from the house goes to it and this is how Eric brought water to the garden.  There is a water line under the ground to the head of the dry stream bed and he decided to tap into that to get water to the building.


The poly pipe has been moved and spliced in and continued down the stream bed. It was then fished under the lawn through the previously laid drainage pipe.  The dry stream bed has plastic under it and is used to drain ground water away from the front yard and channel it out into the gravel on the other side of the lawn by the RV building.  


Here Eric is working on the box where he will have taps to shut off and drain the water line when we leave in the fall. 


Under this box is another hole with drain rock in it so the drainage water from the pipe on the right has some where to go when it rains.


All nice and neat and when he’s done the lawn will be replanted and the box will be level so we can mow over it. 






Success….we have water! 


…and lots of it.  Eric has put a pipe with taps at each end of the building and I can use the water for the front part of the garden, the lawn and Eric will have water for washing the RV.  If someone comes to stay we can now hook the RV up to water.   All good!


It’s the first week of June and the hosta’s have put on some growth.  Behind them the rhododendron is in full bloom.  When I planned the hosta garden I ordered many different ones so they would make a varied display.  Turned out nice….don’t you think!


To the left the dry stream bed and in the distance the RV building…now with water. 


I missed putting pictures of the Kubota picking up the branches and small trees that Eric has been cutting down and I have helped to pile. Here he just slid under the pile and closed the grapple to pick up the brush.  The grapple on front and the logging winch on the back and he can easily switch to the bucket if he needs it.


Up high in the air and off to the burning pile in the field.  Still lots of hand work hauling everything out of the bush and piling it but we’d be lost without the grapple to pack the brush away.  If we are out working together we just pile the brush right on the grapple.


I decided to walk out into the field and take a picture of the burning pile that we’ve created and on the way I passed Eric’s scrap metal collection.  Whenever he needs to weld something up or do a repair this is where he comes.


The burning pile.  It is about 12 feet high and won’t get burned until the fall. 


A bit of sunshine and the yard looks nice! 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Falling trees and silly Geese.

It’s been busy here since we got home and one of the first orders of business was to remove some dead and dying trees.

I have a large perennial garden and these trees were right in the middle of it so it was a bit stressful for me to say the least.  However….Eric is very careful and in the end there wasn’t much damage at all.


Yesterday when I was out Eric had already fallen one of the trees that was adjoined to this one and another dead one behind my garden shed.  Today there were two more to go.


First the undercut.  He also has a line attatched to it from the logging arch on the back of his Kubota tractor.  That way he can get it to fall very accurately. 


It’s heading straight for the shrub border but Eric managed to slide it between two small bushes and it only damaged a small red maple a little bit. 


After this one went down we cleaned it up before starting on the next one.  I should have taken more pictures but I was busy.  Eric limbed it and we piled the branches on the grapple which is on the front of the tractor and then they went out to the burning pile in the field.  Next he bucked up the trunk and picked up the big pieces with the grapple and they went onto the burning pile as well.


Ordinarily he would saw up the wood on his bandsaw mill but….the tree was rotten and no good for anything. 

Next it was another dying hemlock right behind this one and now we are done for the year.    Well may we’ll thin a few out in front of the house but that will wait a bit.  

Later that day Eric saw an odd sight out in the field. We have Canada geese around right now and they come and go in one’s, two’s, threes and more. 


This barn is way out in the middle of the field and this goose must think he’s a robin or something.  In all the years that geese have been coming here we’ve never seen one on a roof.  Very odd but definitely a good look-out point!  The coyote won’t get this one.


His mate is down beside the barn grazing. 

And for dinner tonight….


…beef shish ke bobs.   So colorful I just had to take a picture. 

Another day in the life of the Tycho’s at home in Terrace!