Fundraiser (Updated)

Help us raise funds to cover vet bills, and help the Cat Lady with her new cat rescue organization.

Update: due to the lack of response, I have cancelled the fundraiser and refunded the donations that we received. Thank you to those who were able to contribute. I will leave this post pinned to the top for a while, so people have a chance to read it, and then unpin it.

Look what I found!

The kittens that hang out under the cats’ house are getting more active and exploratory. When I came out this morning, there were three of them, playing rough and tumble on the laundry platform. As I did my usual back and forth, they would run under the cats’ house, but come out again more quickly.

This little one is being seen more frequently.

This one, we see most often. I wish I’d been able to get a photo a few second before. It had been playing on the step, and when it turned to look at me, it still had a dried leaf in its mouth! So cute. 🙂

Lately, while putting the kibble out, one of the cats basically starts growling at me – and other cats. She certainly is happy to see the food, but just seems angry about it, too. Very strange.

As soon as I could, I was back outside to start mowing. I focused on the areas I wasn’t able to do before, starting with the west yard and around the fire pit area. I was even able to mow paths to and around the Korean Pine, in the outer yard. I had to raise the lawn mower way up to be able to get through! After doing the north yard, I was able to keep on going and redo the south yard, including the area that had been under water in front of the outhouse. It started to rain while I was out there, but it was a light rain, so I kept on going.

When I got to mowing near the kibble and cat houses, I saw no cats or kittens arounds, so I paused to move the water bowls away. The heated water bowl was still plugged into the extension cord leading into the cats’ house, even though there is currently no power to it, so I started unplugging it to move it away.

I got growled at, from inside the cats’ house.

I sometimes put kibble just inside the entry, but I knew the bowl had been knocked upside down. Once I unplugged and moved the water bowl, I looked to see where it was.

I found kittens, instead.

I held aside the strips of carpet to take a quick picture, then left them alone while moving the water bowls. I then made a point to quickly mow around the area, so I could be away from them faster.

When I was done mowing and ready to return the water bowls, I grabbed one of the cat beds I’d crocheted and left in the shelf shelter and brought it over, along with some extra kibble. Looking inside, there was one kitten near the entry. The others had been moved away. I put the kitten in the cat bed, straightened out and moved the food bowl, then put the kitten back, bed and all, further in from the entry. The mama was growling at me while I did this, but then I put kibble in the bowl, and left so I think she was happy with that.

Looking at the picture, I can spot 5 kittens. They look to be just barely old enough to have opened their eyes, so I’m guessing about a week or so. Which actually ties in to how long the mama has been growling at me when I do the kibble in the mornings!

So now we have 4 kittens under the cats’ house, and 5 inside the cats’ house!

And there are still the oldest of the kittens, which had been born in the cats’ house then moved away. We don’t know where their new nest is, other than somewhere beyond the pump shack. Honestly, I would have expected those ones to have been brought to the kibble house first, given their ages. I do hope they are okay. There’s really no way to find out, one way or the other, until they start showing up for food!

I do enjoy seeing them when I come out in the mornings. They really brighten the day! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Garden tour video – finally!

Oh, my goodness, what a pain.

It took until just past 2am for my video to upload – only for YouTube to end processing, because it was longer than 15 minutes. I’m sure I’ve uploaded videos longer than that in the past. Worse, to fix the problem, I had to give them a phone number to verify my account – then delete the upload and start all over again.

Five hours later, the upload is done, but YouTube is still doing their checks, including HD processing. I’ve never had any troubles like this before!

But, it’s up! And here it is. I hope you like it, because it was a real pain to get it available! If there are any troubles viewing it, please let me know.

The Re-Farmer

While I’m waiting…

Yesterday, I finished up a garden tour video I made, using my recently acquired software. I’m getting the hand of using it, and quite liking it. It has been a while since I fired it up, though, and there was an update waiting. I have no idea if that’s related or not, but when it came time to export and upload the video (which is does in succession), it saved the export file, but failed the upload. Which is fine. I could just do that manually.

It was incredibly slow to upload. So slow, I thought something must be wrong, and restarted it. When that didn’t work, and it still took forever, I finally had to shut down for the night.

Today, I made a trip into the city for our first monthly stock up shop. When I was finally able to settle in on the computer, I started uploading the file again.

It was just as bad. It shouldn’t take almost 2 hours to reach only 14%.

I ended up re-saving the video at a lower resolution. It’s almost half the file size now, but it’s still slow as every to upload. I’m at 51% right now, and it’s telling me it’ll take just under 3 hours to finish uploading.

I’ve uploaded large files before, without having this much trouble before. I’ll just have to leave it alone and let it do it’s thing. I meant to post the video today, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

While I’m waiting for that to upload, here’s how the day went. 🙂

I was able to do almost all of our stock up shopping today. There are just a few things left to pick up later. I wasn’t able to get the spare sump pump I intended to. They were out of stock.

It was another day of sticker shock, too. Yikes! Some things may need to be dropped from the list this month. About the only “good” price I saw was when I got gas at Costco, where it was at 196.9 cents per litre, instead of the 208.9 cents per litre locally. The city was mostly 207.9 cents per litre.

I was able to get more of the 6′ bamboo stakes, in packs of six, for the garden at a better price than the last ones I go, so my splurge of the day was to get 4 packs instead of 2. I also found one package of trellis net of the same type we are using from last year. The problem is, I need 2 of them to finish both trellises, and there were no more to be found. Hopefully, I’ll find another one when we do our second city trip and go to different stores. If I can’t find any, I’ll just have to use twine.

We have a beef order made, which will tentatively be ready for pick up in a couple of days; I’m just waiting for confirmation on that, as they put the pack together. It’s their largest freezer pack on their regular orders, and they choose what’s in it. Since we’re going into summer, they like to put in more cuts suitable for grilling. I find I quite like not knowing what’s in the pack ahead of time. It’s like Christmas. 😀

On another note, while I was in the city, I got a message from my sister assuring me that my mother’s apartment was locked up after getting treated, so I didn’t need to check it on the way home. Which I’m extra glad for, because on the way home, I drove through my mother’s town and completely forgot about it. I do wonder how much of my mother’s stuff they had to put into the hallway before they could access where they needed to spray. Hopefully, the smell will have dissipated before my mother gets home tomorrow. She has become extremely sensitive to chemical smells.

On yet another note, we are thankfully staying dry enough that I should finally be able to finish mowing. We have extra reason to get the area by the fire pit done. We’re actually going to have company this weekend! We still haven’t worked out exactly when, but my husband’s brother and his family will be coming out. With my husband hardly getting out of the house at all anymore, they have seen each other only a couple of times in the 4 1/2 years we’ve been living here. We used to be able to get together regularly, but with my husband’s pain levels, he just can’t make the trip to the city for any length of time anymore, and their work schedules keep them from coming out here. It’s Canada Day weekend, though, so they have some extra time, for a change. 🙂

Ugh. In the time it took for me to write this, the upload has only increased to 58%, and it says there’s still another 2 1/2 hours before it’s done.

I’m going to leave it and go to bed. I’m sure I’ll be awakened by something during the night, and can check on it then!

I will have it posted as soon as I can. I hope you enjoy it!

The Re-Farmer

First scything

Well, I just got tired of it. We haven’t had a chance to do a restoration job on the scythe blade, but I really wanted to use it. While I was working on something else, my husband got a start on sharpening the blade for me.

The cutting edge has dings in it and likely needs to be peened, but I haven’t see any of the peening supplies I thought we must have somewhere. Not even the right type of hammer, which I was sure we had somewhere. So I made do with pausing to sharpen the blade frequently.

I started in the grass with a path on either side, forming a V. What you see in the middle of the photo is my first pass.

I then made a second pass on the other side of the path to the burn barrel. Since I was going in the opposite direction as before, the grass from both passes ended up on the path, forming a windrow.

I scythed part of the path to the garage, too, before stopping. This was something I could do while tending the last of a burn. We’ve got stuff too big to fit in the burn barrel, so I set up a fire ring next to it. When the burn was done, I waded through the tall grass to get to the barn, where I found a sheet of metal that felt heaving enough, it would take some pretty severe winds to blow off, to use as a cover. When the burn was done, so was the scything for the evening.

It is far from a neat and tidy job. With many pauses to sharpen the blade, most of the the time was spent trying to get that correct angle to cut the most efficiently. A scythe should have two handles on it. Ours just has one makeshift handle, but I was able to control it pretty well. As for how good of a job it did, it’s a toss up over whether the messy cuts are because I’m not quite using it right, or if it’s because it has a bag edge on the blade. It could well be both!

Still, it does the job. As we are able, I hope to get the outer yard between house and barn, and along the driveway (where there isn’t any standing water), slowly done with the scythe. Once that’s done, using the mower will finally be an option!

We’ll see if the weather will be co-operative!

The Re-Farmer

Making chive blossom oil

Last night, I found a large enough, liquid tight jar that would be great for making chive blossom oil.

It’s big enough that all the cleaned and dried blossoms could fit into it. The jar was saved from some Christmas nuts that were available at a local grocery store. Buying the nuts and keeping the jar was cheaper than getting the same type of jar (without the decorative glass) on its own!

After putting the blossoms in, the jar was filled with olive oil, then gently muddled with the handle of a wooden spoon to get out any air bubbles. A label on the top has the date and a reminder to turn the jar a bit, at least once a day. It should be stored in a cool dark place, but with the temperatures we’ve been having, we’d got it in a dark cupboard that is just a little bit cooler than the rest of the house. Thankfully, we aren’t expecting any unusually high temperatures for the next while.

This should be ready to use in about 5-7 days – or longer, if we want the flavour to be stronger.

Making infused oil can be quite easy!

The Re-Farmer

Brave baby

When putting kibble out this morning, I put the kibble for the kittens on the frame of the sledge under the cat’s house. Partly to entice the kittens a bit further out, and party to not have kibble on damp ground.

Not that it stays there long enough to be an issue.

One of the kittens is much bolder than the others, allowing me to get a bit closer. I still had to zoom in for the photo, but was not so far away that the digital zoom on my camera just messed everything up. 🙂 It will even sit there and watch me as I move around. For a little while, at least.

The Re-Farmer

Messing things up

I ended up not heading over to my mother’s today. She had already started packing and bagging, so there was progress. She was feeling tired after church, though, and wanted to rest. So my sister and I will both head over tomorrow and get things done, in preparation for her apartment to be treated the next day.

I decided to start trying something out.

When we first started this blog on WordPress, we posted all sorts of photos without any thought to space limitations. Eventually, we figured out that there was a limit and started resizing them before uploading, but we still quickly ran out of storage space with the free account. We went ahead and paid for an upgrade. It did take longer, but we are starting to run low on space again. WP has changed their plans and the one we are on right now is no longer an option, and the next level up is way too expensive to justify, just so we can upload more pictures.

So I’ve been cutting back on how many pictures I upload – my apologies to those who have been coming here for the cat pictures! I’ve also started uploading resized photos to an online album to store the images, but WP still uploads them into my account’s media storage, so we’re still taking up more space with every photo.

The alternative is to go back to old posts and replace the original images with resized versions that take up less storage space.

I’ve finally started to do that.

It’s messing things up.

Oh, the posts are still working. I’ve figured out a way to just run through, post by post, removing and replacing images in a way that doesn’t have me losing track of which are done and which are not.

No, where things are being messed up is in the background stuff.

I’m starting in 2017, with our first blog posts. Which means finding the original images in our media storage, going through the posts, replacing the full size images from 2017 with resized ones, the deleting the original full size image from the account.

WP organizes files by the dates they are uploaded. Which means these resized images from 2017 are now the first images that are showing up in my media as new images, ahead of 2022 images. That will make it take longer to find more recent images, but there’s no way to sort by, say, file name. The original images have the dates as file names, and when we started resizing them, I continued to use dates in the file names as one of the ways to keep them organized. So now my media images are going to be all chronologically messed up.

On top of that, it’s messing up my stats. As I changed out the images, I have to view the posts in order to make sure they are still working. WP stats do not have the option of not counting my own visits and views. Which means that my stats for today are now artificially high.

What hasn’t happen is any reduction in the percentage of used data. It may well be because these old images aren’t as large and high resolution as more recent ones, after my phone was upgraded. I think where I will really see a difference is when I start resizing photos taken with the DSLR camera. Those are huge files. Still, considering how many images I resized, and how many full sized images I removed, I would expect to at least see at least some difference. WP’s percentage tracker goes to the first decimal point, and that hasn’t even changed. Even with re-uploading the smaller file size images, it’s hard to believe that all the larger original file images I removed still don’t make up a tenth of a percentage point! Especially since a couple of the original files were duplicated for some reason.

I think I’ll stop for today and continue the next time I have a bit of time to dedicate to it – probably about 3 days from now, at the earliest. :-/

I’m rather annoyed that all that time spent resizing images today has apparently made zero difference, though!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden, and first tomatoes!

My morning rounds are taking longer, as I am able to do more in the various garden beds as I go along.

I harvested the largest of the chive blossoms, before they go to seed. While I continued with my morning rounds, one of my daughters washed and de-bugged them, then laid them out on a cooling rack in a baking tray to dry. They are in the oven, with no heat at all, to protect them from the cats. Once the wash water is dried off, we’ll stick as much of them in a jar as we can, with olive oil. Any extras will go in the freezer. Or maybe I should split them into two jars and use them all. There are more chive blossoms to harvest later on, so we’ll have plenty to infuse in vinegar, too.

Speaking of drying things, during the night that cats did manage to get at the stacked screens of drying mint leaves. We’ve lost about 2 screen’s worth of mint leaves to the floor. 😦

When I moved on from the old kitchen garden to check on the squash patch, I noticed one of the giant pumpkins was no longer upright. I thought it might be because it had grown large enough to start leaning over, but I was wrong.

The stem is broken, right at ground level. Possibly from the high winds we’ve been having. Or…

Possibly weakened by the ant hill that has formed on that side of the pumpkin mound!

I built soil up around to support the stem again, in the off chance that it will survive, but with a break that large, I don’t expect it to. We are likely down to just one giant pumpkin plant.

Everything else in the squash patch seems to be surviving so far, and I’m seeing new growth in most. The squash that were started at 4 weeks are so very small, though. I kinda feel like maybe we should have started them at 6 weeks.

I had a very pleasant surprise in the tomato patch nearby, though!

Of course, the camera on my phone didn’t focus where I wanted it to. 😀

We have our first tomatoes forming!

These are on the Sophie’s Choice tomato plants. We got these seeds as a freebie with my order from Heritage Harvest, which was a very pleasant surprise. They have a much shorter growing season, and were started indoors at around 10 weeks or something (it’s a good thing I am using the blog as a gardening journal to record the details, because I’m already forgetting!). So I am not surprised that these are the first to start forming fruit.

We did get some rain last night, but it was light enough that much of the water in the garden was able to get absorbed by the soil, and the paths are just really wet, instead of big puddles of water. That meant I could finally do some much needed weeding in the summer squash bed, then pruning of tomatoes.

I took some of the strongest, healthiest looking branches that I pruned off the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes and transplanted them in the open spaces between the summer squash. I don’t know if I’m breaching any companion planting rules here (do tomatoes and squash go well together?), but whatever. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. I specifically wanted to propagate more Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, as they are listed as extremely rare, so if I can save seed and help keep the variety going, that would be a good thing. Because they start producing so much faster than the other varieties we have, I’m not as concerned about cross pollination.

While I was weeding and tending different parts of the garden, I had Rolando Moon hanging out and keeping me company. Not wanting attention. Just being nearby.

I had to chase her out of one of the sweet potato bags, as she decided to start rolling in it! Then she jumped up into the high raised bed and lay down on some onions. THEN, she moved into the squash and corn patch, and sat on some corn seedlings!

That cat seems determined to be destructive!

Meanwhile…

The tomatoes are not the only things blooming. Two of the Styrian hulless pumpkins have suddenly burst into bloom, and they are all covered with buds again. Their first buds had been pruned away when they were transplanted. They look to still be all male flowers. I’m debating whether these flowers should be pruned away, too, so more energy can go to the plants establishing themselves more. It hasn’t been that long since they were transplanted, after all.

Anyone out there know if it would be helpful to prune the flowers off now or not?

The beans and peas at the trellises and bean tunnel are looking quite good. The cucumbers seem more touch and go. The first peas that were planted are getting quite large, and the snap peas are already large enough that some have latched onto the vertical trellis strings already. The snap peas are growing noticeably faster than the pod peas.

There is a single, out of place pea plant that showed up, right near the upright post at the start of the row. It seems to be a pea from last year that finally germinated! It germinated quite a bit earlier than the others, and I’m trying to train it up the support post, since it’s too far from the vertical lines to climb. Last year, we planted the King Tut purple peas here, so that’s what this one would be. It’s even almost as large as the purple peas we started indoors from saved seed, and transplanted against the chain link fence to climb. They are all tall enough that they’ve attached themselves to the fence and are making their way upwards, even though they are still looking kinda spindly.

The Wonderberries have been ripening, though the plants haven’t really gotten any bigger, and have what looks like weather damage. I’ve been able to taste them. They are lightly sweet, but don’t have any predominant flavour. This may be something we just leave for the birds. I’ll have to get the girls to try them, too, and see if they like them. I don’t mind them self seeding in this location, as I’d rather have the berry bushes that produce food, either for us or for the birds, than the invasive flowers.

In other things, my plans for the day have had to change. My sister never made it out to my mother’s yesterday, because my mother told her it was “too soon” to start packing and bagging things in preparation for her apartment being sprayed for bed bugs. She has a shift today, so that’s out. My brother, meanwhile, is out of town for a funeral that had been delayed until now by the lockdowns. So it looks like I’ll likely have to go to my mother’s to help out. I’ll phone her, first, once I’m sure she is back from church. My sister will be able to come out tomorrow morning, and I hope to come out in the early afternoon for the last of the packing and bagging, and moving of larger items. Then she’s back the next morning to bring our mother to her place for the night. I’ll head over in the early evening to check on the place and make sure it’s locked up while my mother is gone.

On Tuesday, I should be heading into the city for the first half of our monthly shopping, too. I will time it so I can check her place on my way home.

Which means I’ll be getting very little accomplished at home over the next few days!

The Re-Farmer

Morning glare

Oh, Broccoli. You are so funny!

Would you look at that malevolent glare! I get that look from all the young mamas when I put kibble out in the mornings. They come running for the food, but give me THAT look if I don’t leave right away, or if I walk by while they’re eating.

Broccoli is one that runs from place to place to eat. Most of the cats will eat in the kibble house. Some prefer the tray under the shrine. Others prefer this tray outside the kibble house. Now that I’m putting kibble on the roof of the cat’s house, some clearly prefer that, too (no skunks up there!). Broccoli, meanwhile, has no preference, except maybe the roof. She just runs back and forth, from spot to spot!

I saw some of the kittens again this morning, playing around the kibble house. They hid as soon as they saw me. If it weren’t for the insane amount of mosquitoes, I’d settle in with a chair and start getting them used to me. I don’t want to do that while doused with mosquito repellant, as I don’t think the kittens would like that smell at all.

They do seem to be a bit more relaxed and playful around the cat’s house, though, so that’s a good sign.

I wonder when more litters will start showing up?

The Re-Farmer

A furry visitor

This big bugger is why we don’t have hanging bird feeders anymore.

After this picture was taken, a skunk joined it for a while. As I write this, the skunk it still there.

This looks like the big racoon I saw a few nights ago, when I came out to see what critters were snarling out the window. A big racoon made like it was going at me, then backed off, a couple of times, while a much smaller one was at the seeds.

With the storms and winds we’ve been having, we’re not seeing a lot of birds at the feeding station right now. Even the open ground where the seeds are gets filled with water enough to wash the seeds up against the grass.

I’m not seeing the groundhogs very often anymore, either. I think their dens are flooded out, and they’ve moved on. There was the one that dug a den under the mock orange against the house I was seeing more often. I’ve been pushing the dirt back into the hole regularly, and I think I’ve finally won the battle. It hasn’t been re-dug for a few days. Hopefully, that means our garden is safer from them this year!

The Re-Farmer