Cowboy cyclist and errant vegetables

The best story from last weekend at Northbrook is courtesy of the WorkHorse.  On his morning bike ride he encountered a rabbit and a heron (standard fare), then exchanged waves with Amish farmers plowing their fields with teams of horses.  Sounds pretty pleasant, no?  Next he came around a corner and encountered a cow standing in the middle of the road – clearly an escapee from a nearby farm.  Upon seeing the WorkHorse the cow panicked and ran (galloped like a horse apparently) at full speed in the other direction.  The cow, scared witless by the two-wheeled cowboy evidently, ran for quite some distance, checking back to see if his pursuer remained.  The WorkHorse tried to keep his distance.  Eventually, the cow veered off the road and ran full-speed into a fence where it succeeded in knocking itself senseless for a moment.  The WorkHorse took the momentary opportunity to speed past and come home with a great story for breakfast.

The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful.  The good news is that the vegetable garden is looking good.  I checked the potatoes to see if there were any lovely new ones we could eat, but they are still too small.  I’m a little afraid of the quantity of potatoes we should be getting. The tomatoes are growing nicely, as are the cucumbers who received their very own trellis courtesy of the WorkHorse.  We’ve got 3 zucchini plants and 3 pumpkin plants growing.  I couldn’t resist planting a few more pumpkin seeds in the hopes we grow our own Jack-o-lanterns this Halloween.  The chard is lovely, we’re overrun by lettuce and I even have a few beet seedlings coming up.  And best of all, the last two weeks have meant only an hour or so of weeding in the raised beds.  I’ve got no idea what the rest of the summer will bring, so I’m going to just appreciate relative calm in the garden. Here’s the vegetable garden:

But of course it’s not all success stories…

I replanted some corn (a shorter season variety) on the weekend and I swear I could hear the birds laughing at me while I did it.  Remember the watermelon?  We’re down to one scraggly plant.  It seems someone likes to eat the tops off the plants.  And, the whole pumpkin/watermelon/zucchini bed is overrun with bindweed.  That’s going to take some time to root out.  As for the sunflower (crappy shed) bed…it’s actually kind of amazing how little I’ve managed to grow there!  Statistically you’d think I’d have more coming up.  I can see one bona fide sunflower plant coming up – out of more than 100 seeds.  You’d think that the odds would have been a little better than that.  I took a break from that bed this weekend.  For the moment the score will have to be Weeds: 1, Gardener: 0.

To console myself I think of how much we are loving eating from the garden – we ate lettuce, beets and beet greens last weekend, plus onion thinnings, rosemary and basil thinnings too.  It’s incredibly satisfying to eat food we’ve grown ourselves.

Elsewhere on the farm things are lovely.  The smart gardener who lived here before planted flowers that bloom at different times, changing the whole look of the place.  Last month the house was surrounded by pinks and purples of phlox, weigela and irises.  Now we’re in hot colours with orange lilies and yellow evening primrose.  Here’s a pic.

The birds continue to provide much pleasure (despite needing to close the windows at 4:30 am each morning when the noise becomes unbearable!).  I startled the mama sparrow in the nest when I took our fern down to inspect.  Having no idea she was in there I just took the plant down from its hook.  I don’t know who was more scared when she flew out, but from her vociferous protestations I know who was more angry.  She calmed down later when she came back and found her eggs unharmed.

I watched the bluebirds with much joy this weekend.  They don’t always show themselves, so when they do I take time to enjoy them.  And then there are the thousands of barn swallows who swoop in and out of the barn like Kamikaze pilots.  Here are a few over the back paddock.

Before getting back to my city week I’ll leave you with a shot of happy accident in the garden.  This lettuce and carrot have both left their homes and taken up residence among the beans.  I’m sure the beans are happy to have them, I know I am.



2 thoughts on “Cowboy cyclist and errant vegetables

  1. The cow story is too funny! When I was in NL in May I would come across a moose at the same spot on the highway during my bike rides. Cars and 18 wheelers would roar past the moose and she (it was a “cow” too) would not as much bat an eyelash (which, apros pos of nothing, I imagine to be as long and dreamy looking as moo cow eyelashes). But as soon as she’d spy me appraching from across the highway she’d hightail it into the forest. Maybe it’s the spandex we wear – it’s not a good look on anyone, frankly.

    Do you think the Workhorse will let me join his peloton in August? Since a failed attempt mtn biking with him many moons ago, and then finding a love of road biking, I have wanted to try again to keep up with him on a ride. In exchange for that honor I will carry a water bottle and power bar for him and make smartie cookies (with my favorite “cookie” of course). xx

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