Category Archives: Just Photos

Bugs & Crawly Creatures in my Backyard

In addition to all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that fill my garden, I have also found that I have a backyard full of interesting crawly creatures. I’ve shown you the swarms of ladybugs, clumps of boxelder bugs, bumble bees and honey bees, moths and ants, and even a salamander on occasion. Well, not many weeks ago I found a new bug that I had never seen before. It had actually made it’s way into my bathroom and was climbing up the wall. It was just a tiny creature – not more than a quarter inch from top to bottom – but I tell you, it was rather intimidating.

Pseudoscorpion

To get a good view of this fierce little fellow, click the picture to see a larger version. Remember, he’s less than a 1/4 inch! But he looks like a scorpion. In fact, after I did a little research, I found that he is actually a “pseudoscorpion” or a ‘fake scorpion’.He’s in the spider family and despite his fierce looks, is completely harmless to people and their gardens! He is actually good for your garden – he eats other harmful bugs. So if you see this guy or one of his relatives – just wish him well and let him go on his way!

And while I’m showcasing some of the “Bugs of my Garden” – here are a couple more!

Beetle

This giant beetle was crawling around my garden this summer. I think he’s one of the biggest I’ve seen here – he was about the size of a loonie.

snail

I wish you could see this tiny snail in real life. My 5 year old son picked him up (along with his two friends) and was watching them in his hand.  You can see how small they are by the lines in the palm of my hand. The one with his head out is about 3/8 of an inch.

slug

This snail without a shell (also known as a slug) was personally responsible for putting holes in my bell peppers. I never did like slugs much – but they are interesting to watch!

And finally to wrap it all up, here’s a cabbageworm I found. Again, interesting to watch, but it sure makes a mess of your cabbage and other green things!

cabbageworm

Enjoying the “Fruits” of my Labour

For years I’ve been obsessed with growing fabulous, fresh fruit right here in Central Alberta. Not just saskatoons and strawberries – but grapes, plums, cherries, watermelons – yes, even kiwis and apricots. And I want to grow it all in my own backyard. Well, I can’t say I’ve got all those things checked off the list yet, but this year I’ve gotten closer than ever before.

This has been a fantastic season for growing fruit. After starting from scratch 5 years ago, my backyard is now producing all kinds of different delicious fruit. One of my personal favorites has been my Pembina Plums. We had about 5 gallons of these amazing plums this year. So juicy and sweet! I don’t think there is a fruit I enjoy more!

Pembina PlumsThen there are my “Chums” – my Cherry Plums. This is the first year that they have produced, and they are quite a nice little treat.

Manor ChumsThis variety is the “Manor Chum”. They are greenish-purple on the outside, and deep purple on the inside. Very tasty.

Manor Cherry PlumAnother highlight for me this year has been my raspberries. My Wyoming Black Raspberry grew like crazy – so much so that I think I’ll have to cut them right down to the ground this fall! They have almost overgrown the north side of my greenhouse! But they sure produce a lot of raspberries! And they are the perfect compliment to my “Fall Gold” Raspberries. These yellow raspberries are so mild! It’s all the flavor of a raspberry without the ‘raspy-ness’!

Fall Gold and Wyoming Black RaspberriesOf course, my haskaps really started to produce this year. I was amazed at how densely these little berries covered the branches of my little bushes. The kids loved picking these for a little snack. (And I’m excited for when my wife bakes up a batch of haskap berries muffins this winter!

Haskap BerriesMy grapes continue to ripen – I expect to harvest them in a couple of weeks. (My grape syrup from last year has just about run out.)

Valient GrapesMy muskmelons are getting to be a good size too. (Never heard of muskmelons? Think cantaloupe.) They got a late start, but I think they’ll be big enough for a tasty dessert or breakfast in the next days.

MuskmelonAnd finally, another fruit that I’ve highly enjoyed has been my cherries. I believe I had three varieties produce this year – hoping for another two to be mature by next year.

Sour CherriesSo it’s been a pretty great year for fruit. And hopefully next year will be even better! My kiwis have grown like never before (their vines have reached my garage roof), my apricots are coming along nicely, my blueberries are surviving (though not exactly thriving), and my hazelnut tree is slowly making progress. So we shall see what next year brings…

More Spring Flowers in Alberta

Orange and yellow tulips, flowering crab, and pears flowers – Just another fantastic show of color this spring in my backyard. I don’t have too much to say about these pictures other than I think they are amazing! The details blow my mind every time!

My Fruit Trees Are Budding

Well folks, I took another photo stroll around the yard and snapped some of my favorite pictures yet! I’ve got some beautiful pics of my plums in flower, as well as a super cool close-up of my grape buds about to burst, plus a sweet pics of my haskap, and a new-before-seen view of my Patmore Ash. Have a gander and see what you think…

And make sure you click each picture for a larger view – I love the details of the close-up!

This is a bud from my Marechael Grape. Notice the bits of fuzz… That’s awesome! Who knew, right?

Haskap. Borealis, I believe this one is. Again – who knew flower buds were so fuzzy?

The Budding of Spring

One of my favorite types of photos are the macro photos of spring buds. There is such detail and such a variety in all the new growth that appears on branches or popping through the mulch or emerging from seed. So I took a bit of a stroll around the yard this afternoon to capture a few moments of springtime budding – I thought you might enjoy!

Click for the full-size picture – but be aware – they are LARGE!

Remembering Autumn

As mild as this winter has been, it’s still been winter! Don’t get me wrong – I’ve greatly enjoyed our -4° instead of our -40° weather – but veggies & fruit won’t grow in -4° any more than -40°. (Well, except for haskap…. but that’s not the point.) The point is that I’m getting anxious for spring as I assume many of you are. I’ve order my seeds long ago and I’m ready to get planting. However, the time is not yet upon us for such things, even though technically, I guess, it’s not ever too early to figure out how to prepare your garden for spring.

So in the meantime, I thought I’d look back at a few of the photos I took last autumn to remind myself of what I have to look forward to. The first is a photo of my prized pumpkin. I only got one this year – that’s why it’s so prized! This baby became pumpkin pie. And pumpkin pie. And pumpkin pie. And more pumpkin pie.  (I can think of no greater purpose for a veggie!… or a melon… or whatever a pumpkin is classified as…)

Another highlight of my garden this year was the corn! Man, did we get corn! Not only did the kids love “exploring in the corn”….

We also enjoyed eating lots and lots of beautiful peaches and cream corn on the cob!

The kids also enjoyed the wildlife that came through this year. We had an ABUNDANCE of ladybugs…

And a we had our first visit by a salamander. This little fellow was living under our composting lettuce heads.

And of course, we took time to stop and smell the flowers.

Well, I’m afraid all that reminiscing didn’t pacify my longings for spring. In fact, perhaps, it even intensified them a little. But as I look outside, I see the sun shining and the snow melting – and I know that, while it’s not here quite yet – spring is indeed coming. And I shall be ready for it!

Vacationing in the Kootenays

My wife and I just returned from visiting my parents in the Kootenays of British Columbia. Of course, I kept my camera handy and although these pictures aren’t exactly “Alberta Home Gardening” – I thought I’d share them with you.

One of the things that really struck us was how beautiful their road ditches are! They tell me they are all weeds, but man, oh man – they sure look nice! Take a look for yourself…

Nice weeds, eh? Another little bit of nature was this little green itsy bitsy spider that I found on one of my mom’s peonys. Looks a little ferocious, doesn’t he? I’ve never seen any like this in Alberta – and I’m kinda glad.

The last thing I want to show you I think I’ll save for another post. It’s worthy of a whole separate post. So stay tuned…. Especially you entrepreneurs….

Kiwis, Grapes, Blackberries, and More!

In my last post, I took a photo stroll around the yard. But at that time (May 20th), there were quite a few plants that still hadn’t grown enough to have much to show. But now after a long spring, I can show you all the other odd and unusual plants that have finally made an appearance.

But first, an update on my plums! Here is one of about half a dozen Pembina Plums.

Nice, huh? Am I ever excited for these guys! But back to the update… First of all, this is one of my grapes. Its a Marechael Foch Grape – my other one is a Valient. Both are doing nicely so far!

Then, there is my Issai Kiwi – I have two of them as well. I’ve tried growing them twice before. The first time a heavy frost just after planting took them out. The second time was an accidental death that I’d rather not get into!

I also have two Blackberry Vines in the works. This one was just planted this spring – so we’ll have to wait to see how they do over the winter.

I’ve also dug up some Black Raspberry plants from the farm and brought them to our new place. They will be planted along the fence, once the fence gets built! But for now they live in pots.

My cucumbers are doing nice. Just ate the first cucumber of the season yesterday.

And my tomates are happily growing in the greenhouse.

And that’s about it for now. Perhaps next time I’ll update you on whether or not my pole beans have overtaken the corn in which they have been planted! Until then…

Here’s What’s Growing By the May Long-Weekend

It was way back in in the June of 2008, that I took a Photo Stroll Around the Yard. That’s some time ago, so I figured it was about time to do it again. Of course, now I have a whole new yard to stroll around in! Anyway, here’s some of the things I found growing around the yard…

First of all, my tulips are just starting to open up.

And my raspberries are just starting to show signs of life.

My watermelon is looking just fine. (I haven’t had success with watermelons for about 4 years, so I’m hoping this year will be the one!)

My Borealis Haskap seedlings are doing well. I just got them planted last week.

And I always love seeing the white blossoms cover branches of my plum trees!

And my hostas are just starting to unfurl…

It’s amazing to me how soft the needle/leaves of the larch trees are.

And of course, I wandered over to my neighbors yard and had to take a few pictures there too! They’ve got all kinds of little violas popping up everywhere.

This was one of my favorites so far this spring – sandcherry blossoms in my neighbors yard  just about to open!

And finally, bleeding hearts, also growing at my neighbors. (Mine just got planted last week – so they’re a little behind.)

And that’s what things look like around here. Next time around I’ll have to show you my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, kiwis, and grapes!

A Few More Haskap/Honeyberry Pictures

This morning I made an unexpected discovery. While checking my an email address that I haven’t used for months, I found that my brother-in-law had emailed me some photos that he had taken last June of the haskap/honeyberry plants  I had planted at his farm about five years ago. The photos were taken last year, so these plants are four years old. Have a look…

 

Do you have any pictures of haskap/honeyberries? Post them in your comments below!