8 June, 2001:

Stuff is really growing.  Most of the corn’s up.  It started yesterday morning.  Hot, dry weather above wet soil seems a formidable growing combination.

Very powerful wind before an afternoon thundershower blocked the driveway with fallen branches.

Today’s Review Mirror has an article about a Newboro Lake association forming on Facebook.  I recognized Rush Cahall’s name as the tech brains behind the group.

2 June, 2001:

Bet set out some tomato plants this morning in the small lower patch of the garden.

31 May, 2011:

Planted sweet corn varieties Honey Select (70 days) and Sugar Baby (59) in the lower garden this morning with my fancy seeder.  It seemed to work well but I had extra seed, so I did every row twice.  Roz can thin the plants later.

30 May, 2011:  A comment from Stout’s Lower Bay resident Tom Stutzman

When we arrived up here on Friday, the surface water temp was 65 deg. F.  Today, it was 73 plus.  Went for a swim in my underpants, as I left my swim suit at home thinking there was no way I was taking a dip this weekend.  I would have skinny dipped, but there were too many panfish in the neighborhood…….gents, you know what I’m talking about.   Top 10 inches of water are very nice this evening.  Let’s call below that level “refreshing.”

As I wrapped up chores today, mostly picking up deadfall branches from the heavy weather last month, and having finished my first beer of the day I took advantage of the male capacity to “pee” outside.   After all, there’s no one around except the beavers and minks.  Kate was around the corner on the porch.   My location was about 20 feet from where we hung a hummingbird feeder.     So, I start to dribble and almost immediately hear a buzzing sound at my feet.  Thought at first it must be a hornet, as the sound was very audible and there had been some around this afternoon.  Looked down to see an emerald green hummingbird dancing around, but not in, my fountain.  The bird never got close enough to get wet, but if I had changed direction it may have.  No kidding, its beak was within 3 inches of my used-beer Niagara Falls.   It did a 360 several times around the waterfall, in typical hummingbird exacting fashion.   Just as the well went dry, off went the bird.    It was an amazing sight.  And so ends my story of the day.  Moral of the story is: ladies, don’t try this at home; gents, hold it steady.  Not to mention that hummingbirds are really cool to see from that perspective.

24 May, 2011:

This morning at 5:30 three robins, two starlings and a blue jay converged around a dry puddle on the driveway and acted as though they couldn’t believe their fountain had dried up.  It was quite a show as the thirsty birds did their best despairing tricks, peeking among the pebbles for just one more drop.

It’s been very wet here.  Yesterday after a narrow escape from mud, I parked the TAFE 35DI tractor and continued mowing the small fields below the barn with the much lighter Bolens G174.  With its turf tires and 4WD it was able to work effectively on soggy land which would stick a conventional tractor.

The Bolens has been doing the bulk of the work around the trees this spring.  The surprise was that it can handle tall vegetation with its 4′ rotary mower every bit as well as the 35 hp TAFE  with its 5′ model, though with less ground speed and a penalty in operator comfort.  Its lower body lets it get under many of the overhanging branches of the walnut and butternut trees which would be damaged by a similar approach by a larger tractor.

At work the Bolens burns a litre per hour. I’m starting my second 20-litre can of diesel this morning since it stopped raining three days ago.

21 May, 2011:

It wasn’t the end of the world as predicted, but 77 degrees with no breeze is a shock after a month of wind and temps in the low fifties. Today after a morning of mowing from 6:00 to noon, I grew increasingly frantic from the heat until the storm windows were off and the shorts on. It’s summer now. Garden’s still too wet to plant, though, so Roz busied herself planting melons in pots and feeding the mosquitoes while she weeded flower beds.

19 May, 2011:

The rain tapered off a little this morning so I dipped a line at Chaffey’s Locks. A splake jumped in the spillway, and I soon had it on the line, but it broke off in a rainbow blurr. A 3 lb. largemouth bit on the next cast, and a 10″ splake a bit later. That was it. When I cooked the splake I noticed its forked tail and pale white flesh. It may have been a native laker, as I haven’t seen any splake under 12″ in recent years. It was delicious to eat, though.

The lock guy at Chaffey’s told me that high waters will be a problem for tomorrow’s opening of the canal, and not just in the usual places: Newboro’s level is so high above the lock that the water is into the electrical conduits, effectively shutting the station down.

14 May, 2011:

Buckets of rain for the opening of pike season. Picked up a couple of small pike in the rain just outside the Newboro harbour area.

13 May, 2011:

Disked the garden plots for the second time today. The first effort yesterday almost got the tractor stuck, but this time it went well and definitely set the sprouting weeds back on their roots. The disk is huge and almost too heavy for the 35 hp tractor to pick up, but it does a great deal of work in a few seconds.

9 May, 2011:

First major feed of asparagus today at supper.

I notice the neighbouring ploughed fields look drier, and farmers have seeded the higher grain fields.

I spent the morning with the narrow tractor on the 48″ rotary mower slaloming across a field of 5000 mechanically-planted pine and tamarac seedlings. Unfortunately the human factor, an operator who put the seedlings in at random intervals along the rows, means that a great deal of steering is required in order to ensure the survival of at least some of last year’s seedlings as I cross the rows to eliminate bulky dried weeds and Manitoba maple sprouts prior to spot spraying. The assorted oak, yellow birch, and shagbark hickory seedlings are tiny and very hard to see, so I fear I have pruned some of them in the interest of the more visible evergreens.

The low corner of the field is still too wet for the tractor, even with 4WD engaged. I avoided it.

6 May, 2011:

Local farmers are growing distressed because the ground is still too wet to seed. Crops will be late this year because of the very heavy rainfall in April. The tractors cut the wet sod up too much, so the Polaris Ranger’s taken over workhorse duties around the farm during yard cleanup.

Bugs haven’t started seriously yet, so I’m using the window to cut some firewood in the woodlot. A 14″ cherry and a large maple blew over last Thursday, so I cut them up this morning — that is, I cut up all a saw with a 14″ bar can handle. For the larger parts of the trunk I’ll have to get out the ancient McCullough Pro-mac 850 with its 28″ bar. The thing is such a beast I hate to run it: it shakes itself to pieces every time I start it, but there’s no denying its cutting power.

To give an idea of how soft the soil is at this time of year, the 3′ maple which crashed to the forest floor in one section drove its trunk down to where only about 5″ of its formidable diameter remains above ground level.

28 April, 2011:

After blowing my wife across a Kingston parking lot, the big wind dropped a limb from an ancient maple across the front of our house. No windows were broken, just a screen I can easily replace, so we hauled away the debris and moved on to the more extensive damage to the plastic cover on the storage building. It’s toast, but I think there’s enough on the roll Les gave me for another.

My fishing boat had a load of water and was taking a beating from the waves at its slip on Newboro Lake. After the bailer emptied it I added a line and decided it would be o.k., as it hangs on the inside of the dock and is protected by it. Quite a wind.

27 April:

This morning was one of those perfect spring mornings when it simply makes more sense to go fishing than to do anything else. I started off to write “achingly beautiful” in the previous sentence, but that implies a pain of separation, and I’m retired and live five minutes from my boat, so when the day dawns nice, away I go: no aching about it.

24 April, 2011:

Mud report.  The frost is out of the ground now, and after a week of rain I found today that the sod isn’t all that sturdy, either.  The Polaris Ranger is quite adept at picking its way over mud by hanging onto the sod above, but all bets are off if it is towing a utility trailer over the same surface.  Buried the Ranger.  Those knobby tires are great until they fill up with mud.  Then they’re slicks.  Went back to the 4WD Bolens tractor for trailer duties and all went well.

21 April, 2011:

Man, was it cold out there!  I was trying to get a few of the balsam seedlings I picked up this morning in Kemptville into the ground straight out of the bag.  Twenty stems into soggy ground with snowflakes blowing by and my fingers had had enough.

My thoughts go out to the kids on a planting project on my neighbour’s land.  I hope they’re healthy young brutes who don’t get cold before the bus collects them.  All I know is that the wet mud was more than enough this afternoon for my middle-aged fingers.

April is the cruelest month.

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