What I’ve Been Doing The Past Few Weeks.

Oh, hi there! Would you like to come into my garden and eat everything in it?  O.K. Cool.  The rabbits have claimed most of it, but if you’re bigger than what a snake could swallow, you should be good over where the voles used to live.

I’m still not finished planting my garden. I originally blamed Coronavirus and the delayed opening of my garden.  Then I blamed any and every animal with a stomach.  Now I blame myself for not being more clever than a rodent.  Which I suppose is really the fault of my parents if we get down to it. Genetics and all.

I have so far planted my beets 3X,  one row of carrots twice (the other 2 rows went unscathed) and my Glass Gem corn which I was so excited to grow again was a bust. I’m not sure if that’s something I can blame on the rabbits or old seed.

The entire bed of oats I planted just vanished.  The oats that is, the bed is still very much around and filled with weeds.  The Lisianthus that I was so excited about didn’t get eaten or have problems with germination; it grows slowly. Bad haircut slowly. they’re about 1 cm high.  I planted them in March.

Regardless of all the fails, even a bad garden is likely to give you some food. My first tiny harvest from a few weeks ago was strawberries, garlic scapes (which I made garlic scape pesto with), radishes, poppies, kale and swiss chard. 

Suck on that you marauding band of corn eating, beet chewers. You  must have accidentally left me with a little bit. 

I harvested my first early garlic just to see how it was doing underground there.  It’s doing well. By the time it’s truly ready to pick in a couple of weeks, my garlic is going to be gargantuan. 

Big.  Like this snake.

That’s right, the compost snake is still living somewhere in the compost bin. I couldn’t tell you where because I now avoid the compost bin at all costs.  Not because I’m afraid of snakes. I am not afraid of snakes. 

I find them startling.

They can startle me. Also my gardening friends a few plots over from me dismantled their compost bin this week and found not one, not two, not THREE but 1,987,546 snakes in their compost pile.

Or it was 8. I can’t remember.

Either way they had snakes oozing out of their compost pile in every direction. One of them, for a reason I cannot remember, was somehow able to split itself open a little and then projectile purge it’s bodily fluids in a magnificent spray at them.

So imma leave that compost bin alone for a while.

I pruned my espalier trees last week. It was a little after the June 30th (summer solstice) pruning I usually give them but it’s fine. Every year I get more confident with hacking away at my apple trees.  All you do is prune to 3 leaves above the cluster of leaves called the basal leaves (I show you how to prune an espalier apple tree here). That’s it. That’s all there is to it.  But this was the year I felt 100% confident in my ability to identify all the basal clusters and cut them at the right point.

Also I’m not too worried about it because no matter how well I tend to these apple trees I won’t be the one eating the apples.  

I bet you think the squirrels are going to eat them all.


The squirrels are going to fly through the air, landing somewhere on the top tier of the espalier at which point the squirrel will tumble down the tree to the 3rd tier, knocking 14-17 apples off every time it does this. And it does this a lot.

Once the squirrel regains its balance it will wrestle with an almost ripe apple sinking its teeth and claws into it until it manages to use all of its squirrel strength to rip the apple off the tree, sending squirrel and apple tumbling backwards into the grass.

Squirrel will stare at the apple all bewildered-like then run across the road to frantically dig up an herb garden. 

Seconds later the squirrel notices my tree again and it flies through the air landing  on the top tier of the espalier and the whole process starts over again.

This was my favourite meal of last week I think.  Crappy hotdogs (like not gourmet hotdogs at ALL) on white buns, a side of corn chips and a salad made from garden stuff with homemade French dressing.

The homemade French dressing makes it fancy.

And THIS is what I’m currently obsessed with in every which way. This is the actual, original, Anne of Green Gables house in Prince Edward Island.  Yes I’m enamoured with it, but I am clinically, pathologically, extremely, frightfully obsessed with the show Anne with an E.  

It’s on Netflix now, but I’m not sure why I didn’t start to watch it until now. It’s a Canadian network CBC/Netflix co-production and it’s pretty brilliant. The whole look of the show is breathtaking, including the show opening which I absolutely NEVER EVER skip through.

If you have even an ounce of admiration for primitive antiques in decorating I’m warning you now not to watch the show unless you have a hammer, a can of white paint and a credit card handy. You’ll want to hunt down every single thing in Green Gables, paint every room white and get rid of … sorry about this … all of your electricity. 

The house is beautifully simple and authentic.  And the show if fantastic. 

And finally my most recent Amazon acquisition. I’d not heard of Pretty Things but a friend just read it and both she and her husband loved it. I’m currently finishing American Dirt which I’d say I’m not in love with but apparently I’m in the minority because it gets great reviews on Amazon and Good Reads. 

Prior to Pretty Things, I might read A Gentleman in Moscow because I have that waiting to be read too. I’ll see what kind of mood I’m in when I finish American Dirt. 


What I've Been Doing The Past Few Weeks.

Have a good remainder of your weekend!





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  1. Lindz says:

    The Anne of GG house is beautiful….and the haunted woods right behind it! Come visit PEI anytime :) (when we let people in again)

  2. Jen says:

    You are so lucky that your Lisianthus are even tiny. Because mine were nonexistent last year. Never germinated. That has only happened with me with one other plant–the cherry bomb pepper. It is infuriating.

    • Karen says:

      I honestly didn’t think they were going to germinate. It took about a MONTH and some even longer than that. They are SO slow. ~ karen!

  3. Librarian Nancy says:

    I read A Gentleman in Moscow last year and really liked it. Didn’t care that much for American Dirt – how many pages of running and hiding can a reader take? I just finished Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano which I highly recommend. SOOOO many fireworks over the weekend – I think it’s because Chicago and all the local municipalities cancelled their fireworks displays, so people decided to make their own. I was dog-sitting for a 12-year-old golden retriever who fortunately is pretty deaf, so he wasn’t bothered. Next on my reading list is a re-read of The Princess Bride by William Goldman – with everything going on right now, I need some fairy-tale escapism!

  4. Marianne says:

    I just discovered your blog and I love it. I want to marry it. Is “blog” still the right term to use?

  5. Grammy says:

    Anne with an E! I love it. I said to my son (he’s older than you, Karen) that I don’t know how I managed to be this old and never read Anne of Green Gables, but somehow this ardent bookworm thought it was some kind of boring sissy stuff when I liked books with smart and competent girls. Wow. I love the series and was so sad when I finished it. A couple of days later my son showed up with a book he found at a local place that had three of the Anne of Green Gables books in one volume. Now I have read the original and am about to start the next in the series. I wish they had continued the series on TV to the next stage. And you’re right about the fabulous settings in the program. It’s fabulous stuff for a quarantine.

    • Karen says:

      I don’t know how either! I only have a few episodes left so now I’m on an Anne with an E strike. I’m like that. When the last episodes come close I stop watching because I don’t want it to be over. I still haven’t watched the final 2 episodes of Schitt’s Creek or Will and Grace. ~ karen!

      • Grammy says:

        Oh, my! That’s what I did! I waited a week between new episodes for the last 6 of them because I didn’t want it to end. They’ve decided not to make another season, which sucks, but I’m enjoying the books. The TV show stuck really closely to the book (including chatterbox Anne’s unique over-the-top speech patterns) so it’s a nice continuation.

  6. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Snakes? Uch. They startle me too but I’m also afraid of them. Just seeing the pics here makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up 🙄. So far this summer hasn’t been toooo bad but last year was brutal…. on the deck, slithering horizontally along the mortar lines between the bricks and hiding in the brick weeping holes. I’ve never killed one deliberately but while ripping out English ivy gone wild, I guess there was one amongst the ivy and a good yank accidentally ripped one in half. I totally freaked out. This year our neighbours’ pool guy found a SIX footer!! And I only live around the corner and up the hill from you. I may have to move into the city 🙄

  7. Scout says:

    I love that Anne of G.G. show. It honors the book and is visually stunning. But, I did always wonder how Matthew cut the grass, trimmed the hedges, painted the house, milked and moved the cows, planted and protected the garden. Jimeny Crickets……..but, you’re right….. it’s beautiful. Not gonna turn off the electric, but maybe a goat could help with my lawn.

  8. Jennifer says:

    OMG Anne with an E. The show that made my childhood obsession into an adult one. Also, same garden as me, including a giant snake that ate all the voles. Thanks. :)

  9. leisa says:

    I was in a shop in downtown Elora last week and they had a whole rack of curtains used in “Anne with an E”….a lot of brown.

    Careful near the compost 🤓

  10. Darlene E Meyers says:

    When are you going to be done your project and come back to us full time? While I enjoy your posts a second time I need new Karen material…

  11. Jane C. says:

    I have given up replanting carrots – the squirrels seem to think I’ve buried something edible and dig up the rows. Chipmunks are also a problem this year – I have, er, dispatched 11 so far after they dug up my garden, tunnelled under my flower beds and ate my neighbour’s pea plants. And this 30 degree weather doesn’t exactly inspire me to get out and weed. And then there’s the hosta/pepper plant/phlox-eating deer.

  12. Lois says:

    I admire your apple trees. My twentysomething daughter just brought me an apple tree. I don’t know why–when she called me from the garden center suggesting a pear tree, I told her I was planning on getting a dwarf Japanese maple. But she dragged home an apple tree! which has no tag on it! so I don’t know what kind of apple tree it might be! For all I know, it IS a pear tree. According to Google, the place where I wanted to plant the Japanese maple is the only place in my sun-challenged yard for an apple tree. I planted it. How could I disappoint my daughter? I don’t even think I’ve told her yet that Google says most apple trees need another one to produce fruit. I wish the squirrels would come carry the little thing off.

  13. Dawna says:

    What?! No fries?

  14. MrsSW says:

    RE: A Gentleman in Moscow
    My husband had eye surgery a couple of months ago and was unable to read during recovery. A Gentleman in Moscow is one of the books we listened to and it was excellent!
    We also listened to, among others, To Kill a Mockingbird, read by Sissy Spacek and it was a totally different (and more enjoyable) experience from reading the book or watching it on stage. Of course the movie is another experience altogether. :)
    Another “hit” was The Old Man and the Sea read by Charleton Heston – I know, right? The book is too drawn out but the reading was wonderful.
    Good luck in your struggle with the varmints,

  15. Tess says:

    Anne with An E. Opening credits. SO beautiful! I was heart broken when the cancelled the show last year.

  16. DCD says:

    Yes, to join others sentiments, the 4th is my absolute least favorite holiday. Only person on my street not to put up the red, white and blue. I left my thank you flag to essential workers up. My country is an embarrassment right now.

    I LOVE Anne of Green Gables! They used to have a web cam on the actual house (many years ago) and I looked at it every day as it was a wonderful way to start my mornings. The books are fantastic and recommend reading them. Fell in love with Anne when I saw the old PBS series on it with Megan Follows. Colleen Dewhurst, and Richard Farnsworth. Recommend that series too. The photography is wonderful as are the costumes and acting. In fact, I think I need to watch it again, to get my mind free from the terrible news going around and hearing nothing but fireworks for hours on end for the past several days. Lord, I hate fireworks! They started at 7:30 last night and didn’t finish until 4 am this morning! Sounded like a war zone here.

  17. Carla Keith says:

    A Gentleman in Moscow is amazing. I think I read it in 3 days. It is unlike anything I had read in years. You really feel as if you are in the story, and invested in the outcome. I also liked Rules of Civility, his earlier book, but they’re very different.

    • Vivian says:

      You are absolutely right Carla. A Gentleman in Moscow is amazing. Hurry up and finish your other book Karen. I passed the book on to friends who also loved it.

  18. Kat O says:

    I read that American Dirt was terrible – it’s an immigration story told by a white woman and is just…all wrong. From what I’ve heard. So I think your opinion of it is probably correct.

    (Also to Victoria: I apologize on behalf of my country. The U.S. has always been a country of racists but we’ve regressed like fifty years.)

    • Pearl says:

      Wow. I was born in 1953 in Baton Rouge Louisiana and raised right above it. I remember white and colored water fountains. No black people at the Rexall counter. Our country has progressed tremendously and enormously. Is it perfect? No. But it’s tremendously better I can tell you.
      If you want to see real injustice and poverty, travel a little. Or turn off the news and watch House Hunters International on HGTV.

  19. Victoria says:

    Thank you for brightening up my hellish 4th of July evening! Always enjoy your posts! Being a Swede I don’t care for this holiday to begin with, and the fact that this country (US, not Canada, hopefully we’ll move) is full of racists makes it even less of a celebratory day for me, and to really top off my dislike for this day, are all the loud firecrackers and fireworks that makes in a living inferno here. All doors closed in my hot ass LA home and I still feel like I’m in a war zone. Enough about that. What I really wanted to tell you is that you just MUST read Novella Carpenters Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. You’d love it!!!! Add it to your list.

  20. Sarah says:

    To solve the snake problem- get a garden hoe with the longest handle you can find and chop that snake’s head off. I don’t care what people say about how beneficial they are. I do not like them. We have too many snakes in Florida. A snake got in my daughter in law’s car. Fortunately, she saw it after she had stopped the car. I do not leave any doors open anymore. I will kill your snake for you if you pay my airfare. Oops, I am from Florida where crazy people are filling the beaches and bars and getting Coronavirus. Not me.
    Good luck with your garden.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Good to know you’re keeping safe. I really do like having the snakes because they don’t hurt anything in my garden other than the voles which DO hurt my garden. :) ~ karen!

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