Hoe hoe hoe

That is not the Ho, Ho, Ho that you hear at Christmas time – I’m talking hoe, hoe, hoe again during the peak of gardening season.


Hoeing is not difficult if you do it when it needs to be done and not just when you get around to it. I’ve hoed the fall-planted garlic twice, and the hoe has blessed the spring-planted onions once. It is kind of nice to be able to stand back and look at the long, green straight rows without a single weed in them.

I have also gone over the strawberry patch a couple of times. There are not really many weeds there, but I have had to pull a number of what looked like clumps of grass starting, but it turned out to be the new growth of oat seeds that obviously came from the oat straw that we covered them with for the winter. Those were not hard to pull out, as they are very shallow-rooted. The strawberries are now out in full bloom, but some of the earlier ones have black centres. That is an indication that a late frost has, proverbially, nipped them in the bud and those will not develop into a big, rosy, red, ripe, juicy berry. Nevertheless, the bees are still buzzing while pollinating the rest.

The August crop of the twice-bearing raspberry is going to be a complete write-off. The week long warm spell at the end of March brought them all out in leaf, but the later heavy frost froze them off, along with the early flower buds. That has caused them to send up many multiple new canes from the roots, so it looks like the later fall crop is going to be a bumper one.

This past week has been an interesting one for me. I was given as a gift three quite large goose eggs and ten almost as large white duck eggs, the parentage of either I neglected to ask. As both take 28 days of incubation, I have my work cut out for me, as I will be turning these eggs by hand three times daily.

To coincide with their hatching date, and having room for them, I have added, one week later, 20 or more eggs from several pairs of my show bantams, which hatch in 21 days. There will be some exciting moments when I set up separate glass aquaria that I use as brooders to keep the young warm and out of drafts. That is necessary for the first ten days with both ducklings and goslings, and the little chicks will probably need heat for a few days longer. Each and every morning as I wander out to check on whatever, wherever, I can see a flock of large Canada geese foraging in the hay field back of the barn, just beyond the paddock were the young Boer goats prance and play.

I don’t have a clue as to why it is always the same number, but they seem to be mated pairs. They stand in twos, evenly spaced apart, with one of each couple watching with head erect while the other feeds. They were easy to spot earlier when the grass was short, but now it’s harder to pick them out, as you can see only the high-held head above the fast-growing hay. I strongly suspect they are young, immature geese not yet old enough to take on the responsibility of rearing offspring and are simply enjoying the vagaries of equivalent teenage young.

Interesting is the fact that they all periodically take off in a noisy group and head to the back corner farm pond for a couple of sips and a dip or two, but on their return to the field, they come back flying low in uneven numbers and glide quietly to their chosen new spot. I enjoy watching them.

 The peculiarities of Mother Nature are sometimes hard to figure out, nevertheless it gives me additional reasons to put my feet on the floor each morning and leave the comfort of warm covers for the day.

Take care, ’cause we care.







Barrie Hopkins