A new balcony and a pesky raccoon

Catch up time, it’s been a while since I last posted.

Lots of news. Over the weekend our fantastic landlord and his uncle finished off the roof on the deck. When I first heard of the roof idea, I wasn’t too pleased — I imagined that would be the end of growing vegetables, since the sun would be cut off. Fortunately, “Uncle” is an avid gardener too. They put up clear plexiglass panels, and as Uncle explained, the light will come through, but the worst of the UV rays and any frost would be warded off (not to mention the rain). I was completely won over as I barbequed chicken on the deck tonight, and listened to the rain pelt the roof over my head. Such a comforting sound, and air smelled clean and sweet (well, except for the smoke from my chicken leg flambe).

Uncle shared more of his hard-won garden wisdom. Together we inspected my fledgling vegetable crop, and in very broken English, he explained that rather than cut off the entire head of lettuce for a salad, I could simply pick off the leaves as I needed them. The plant will continue to grow. Why didn’t I think of that?? He also explained how to propagate rose bushes, and made it sound very easy. He told me to break (not cut) a good sized branch, plunge 3/4 of it into soil, and by spring the new plant would be rooted and budding. Easier said than done, I think.

I may be giving it a try, in any event. On Sunday we took a hike up Walker’s Line, and dropped into a very old graveyard near the trail head. In years past the blooms on a magnificent old rose have always caught my eye…double pink blooms and very fragant, and huge. Over the years the bush, which was probably originally planted on a grave, has taken over an entire section of the graveyard and has reseeded freely in a neighbouring meadow. I figured if I could find the original grave marker, I would learn approximately how old the rose really was. It took some courage, more than a few scratches, and some determined rooting to find it — an old white stone marker buried deep in the rose bush, dated 1895. I dug up a couple of seedlings and hope that I can get them to grow on my deck garden, at least for a while.

Yesterday was a warm day, and with the deck finally finished (and a whopping hydro bill waiting to be paid), I decided it was time to move all my orchids and indoor plants outside, and turn off the 1000W grow light and humidifier. It took hours of work to arrange everything to my liking, and to clean up the mess left over in the grow room. By late evening I was very satisfied with my efforts, and dragged Laird outside to admire the new decor.

Alas, I’m off to a bad start. Mr. Racoon paid an inspection visit last night, and apparently didn’t like what he saw. He knocked pots off shelves, dug plants out of pots and flung them around the deck, tromped carelessly in my big planters, and washed something disgusting in my fairy fountain. He managed to get into the garbage cans, and showed his displeasure at not being able to get into the worm bins by knocking everything around it to the ground. The bugger. I can’t wait until the vegetables start coming out. It could be war.

The only consolation is that I wasn’t singled out. This morning, as I grumbled in my nightie and started picking up after the bastard, I heard my neighbour on the deck below doing the same thing.

Now, it’s turned cold again and the high later this week will only be 10C. I don’t know if my orchids will stand up to all the stress. They’re going to have to — I’m not dragging them all back inside two days after taking them out! If they die I may switch to cactus plants. That’ll even the score with that raccoon.