Second stocking up trip: this is what $350 looks like

Well, I’m back from the city, with a mostly successful shopping trip to the Wholesale Club. I didn’t quite get everything on my list, while also getting a few things not specifically on my list, but that I either keep an eye our for, or get only while at this store.

The grand total, after taxes, was $350.17

I like that their receipt organizes everything by category, rather than the order they were scanned in.

Under “grocery”, I got a package of heavy duty scouring pads, having taken out the last one from our supply recently. We were also low on parchment paper, so I got a cheap no-name brand, as well as a package of paper towels.

There’s a 10kg (22lb) bag of white sugar. Icing sugar was on my list, too, but I didn’t find any. A bottle of lemon juice, a big thing of iced tea mix, and giant bags of Fusillli and Farfalle pasta.

In dairy, there’s a tub of sour cream, a big block of Old cheddar (more expensive than Costco, except they didn’t have any in that size at all), and a couple of pounds of butter. The no-name butter was $5.99 each, but the whipping cream was $4.89 each, so I got two of those and will be making more butter myself.

I got 4 big bags of pierogi in two flavours; the no-name brand, at $4.99 each, was about a third the price of the name brand variety in comparable sized bags. There’s also a gallon of vanilla ice cream my husband requested.

There’s a 2L of soy milk for my daughters in the “natural foods” category. They are lactose intolerant, and the soy milk is cheaper than lactose free real milk. That’s the main reason I want a milk goat!

Under “produce” there’s a bag of “imperfect” avocados, and Medjool dates.

Those dates are quite addictive! Excellent stuffed with a bit of goat cheese. Better still stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese and crushed nuts, rolled in salt and pan fried with honey – something we did when the girls were younger and we were recreating recipes from ancient Rome. Sublime!

Under meats, I splurged a bit. Oddly, the $10 bag of frozen vegetable samosas is listed under meats! I got a giant package of wieners (and buns) so we can have a cookout if we want. We still have meat in the freezer, but I wasn’t going to say no to the excellent price for pork butt. There was a lot of meat for just under $30. Unlike their chickens, where a three pack of small birds was almost $40! As a treat, I got one of their $20 boxes of chicken balls. I also got their $10 pack of sole filets for the girls, who like their seafood.

Under deli, we got a giant beating stick of summer sausage, Lyoner sausage and salami. I was planning to only get the big summer sausage, but these are handy for those days when we don’t have the energy for cooking. Plus, I want to experiment with something.

Last of all, I got a jug of windshield washer fluid, rated to -45C/-49F. With how warm it was today, I quickly ran out and pretty much emptied the jug I had in the van when I refilled the reservoir. I always try to keep a full jug in our van, and my mother’s car, just for times like this!

One thing I did not find was the bucket of Ghee. When I didn’t find it at Costco, I was sure I had to have found it here. I ended up asking an employee and as far as he knew, they never carried the bucket size! All they had were smallish tins. Maybe Costco was just out of stock? I do hope they get more, because buying it in that bucket size is SO much more affordable.

I went through the restaurant section and there were a few things that I’m eye balling for the future; especially for when we’re cooking outdoors more often. I also went through the pet food section, and there were none of the large bags of dry kibble I try to get. Not that I would have bought any. There’s no savings on kibble by buying it there.

I did decide to make one other stop before doing this shopping, checking out a liquidation store. We don’t go there often, but there’s something my daughter is wanting that I thought they might have. They didn’t, but while there, I did get a dozen packages of vegetable bouillon cubes at 4 for $1, or 29 cents each, restocking our supply from the last time I got a whole bunch of these! There wasn’t much else; mostly cheap Valentine’s day treats, though I did get a chisel tip paint brush that was on the list my daughters have for painting the basement. A long handled one would have been preferable, but no place I’ve looked seems to have them. Which is fine. We can always extend the handle ourselves, if necessary.

My younger daughter helped me bring everything to the house, and the poor thing really struggled with the heavier bags. She’s been working on the basement all day, so her back is killing her. I’ll have to make a point of hobbling down the stairs and see how it’s going, later on.

Speaking of hobbling…

The new medications my doctor is trying me on for my arthritis are… a thing. There is definite improvement in joint pain and reduced inflammation. The problem is, I seem to have just traded one pain for another. These medications are prescribed in tandem, with one of them pretty much there to protect the stomach from the other.

It’s not working very well.

Usually, it’s just a feeling of bloating, without the gas, but while driving and walking around today, it got really bad. At one point, as I was walking into the Wholesale Club, I suddenly wondered if I was going to throw up! I wasn’t feeling nauseous. It felt more like I really needed to burp, but was afraid to because it might be accompanied by something – and my stomach would have been pretty empty by then! According to the papers that came with the meds, side effects should subside within 2 weeks, and I only got 2 weeks of the medication. If this keeps up, I’m not going to request the prescription be continued, but will drop them completely. I’d rather deal with the pain from the OA than this abdominal pain and… insecurity, shall we say!

More motivation for me to try going carnivore, but if I do that now, we’ll go through the meat in our freezer way too quickly, and that’s supposed to be for all four of us, not just me! Very frustrating. But I can still work towards it.

Juggling what we can afford for the household can really conflict with what we’d like to do! Meanwhile, with the prices continuing to increase, we’re going to have to rely on food we grow ourselves a lot more, and that’s going to require more preparation if we’re going to start raising animals, too.

Ah, well. Self sufficiency was our goal from the beginning. I just hoped we’d have more time and resources to accomplish it!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: two more, and who’s next?

We have two more luffa babies!

The second seeds in two of the pots are actually germinating!

When it comes time to thin them out, I think I’ll try transplanting the smaller ones. I know squash and gourds don’t like being transplanted, but the more seedlings there are, the more survivors we’ll have once they finally go outside. We’ll see.

In the next few days, we’re going to have to shift things around again. The small aquarium greenhouse will get set up and the onions will get transferred over. The luffa will be moved off the warming mat and set where the onions are now. The warming mat will then get the next batch of seeds.

While peppers and eggplant are often started this early in our climate zone, the varieties we have can actually wait a bit longer. What needs to be started next are the zucca melon and drum gourds, since they need at least a month longer to mature than we have between average frost dates. I’ll have to go through all the varieties of seeds that need to be started indoors and sort them by days to maturity to see what else we need to start this early.

And we still need to pick up lumber to build a barrier to keep the cats out of the living room, so we can turn the whole thing into a greenhouse. I’ll have to talk to my daughter about that, since she’s the one paying for it.

Well… time for me to start heading to the city and do some stock up shopping!

The Re-Farmer

That’s life with cats, I guess!

As I was heading out to do my morning rounds, I was greeted by this adorableness.

I took this photo through the screen window of the old kitchen door, so it looks out of focus. This is the tortie the girls have named Phantom, because she has half her face covered with a black “mask”. Alas, I was unable to sneak a pet before she woke up, saw me setting out the kibble, and ran outside.

As I write this, we are at a wonderful -5C/23F, and are expected to go above freezing. Too warm for my down filled parka, so I was going to wear my hoodie.

Or not.

I’d left it hanging on the back of a spare dining room chair.

A chair the cats use as a bed.

I even made sure the hood wasn’t on the seat, so they couldn’t lie on it. This is just from them leaning against it!

Life with cats. Cat hair, everywhere!

I did have another light jacket I could use. I just don’t like it as much. I still had to take the link brush to it, since I’ll be wearing it when I head to the city today. Hopefully, I won’t be trigging too many cat allergies when I’m around people, because there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

As lovely as the temperature is, though, walking out the sun room door was like hitting a wall. We’ve got 30 kmh/19mph winds right now, coming in from the south. It did make doing the rounds much less pleasant than it would have been, but the wind chill was still only -13C/9F, so it’s still not much to complain about! The only down side it that I’m going to be driving head on into it, the whole way to the city with the van, which is going to do a number on my mileage. At least it should make the trip home better!

I’m just loving what I’m seeing in the forecast over the next few days. We’re actually supposed to go above freezing for several days!

We’ll see what we actually get, of course.

The Re-Farmer

Oh, what a lovely day!

It’s almost 6pm as I start writing this, and not only have we reached our predicted high of -10C/14F (my app says there is a wind chill of -19C/-2F, but I just got back from topping up the outside kibble, with no jacket on, and there was no wind), but it’s supposed to keep getting warmer overnight!

The grey tabby that has suddenly become friendly – it’s the one between the black tabby and the white and grey at the top – managed to sneak into the old kitchen while I was coming out with kibble. He not only let me pet him, but I was able to confirm he is male.

Now why can’t any of the females suddenly become friendly? They still won’t let us anywhere near them! The calicos and torties are pretty much guaranteed to be female. Not sure about the rest of the tabby cattens, besides Judgement and the newly friendly one.

They are just loving the warmer temperatures, and so am I!

I’d made arrangements to get some farm fresh eggs this afternoon. Then I got a message saying they had to make a trip to the city to try and find a part, so that got postponed until they got back. With the warmer temperatures, I’ve been feeling so energetic and antsy, I ended up going into town to pick up a few things, even though we were planning a trip to the city soon. I was home long enough to get a chicken carcass in the slow cooker to make stock when I got the message that they were heading home, so I was back on the road soon after.

Aren’t they beautiful? I love the green ones!

I am always so inspired when I visit this place. This is the same person we’ve been getting our cardboard from, to use while making new garden beds. Today, I got to meet their new additions – a pair of fainting goats, and two emus!

Emus are flippin’ huge!

This is in addition to their alpaca, horses, donkeys, hens, Guinea hens, and probably other birds I don’t know about. Once we have our coop, I’m hoping to be able to buy chicks from them, too.

While I did a small trip today, I’ve decided to do a big city shopping trip tomorrow. We’re expected to have a high from 0C/32F to 2C/36F, depending on which app I look at. I figure I may as well take advantage of the warmth. This time, we’ll be going to a different wholesale place, where I know I can get things like the big buckets of ghee and restaurant size bags of pasta. It’s time to restock pantry supplies we’ve been using when we weren’t able to make our usual big trips. We didn’t have the extreme cold we usually do, other than the past week or so, but with the holidays, December and January are always the worst months for making these trips. I’m actually looking forward to the outing, even though I’m not at all looking forward to the shopping!

My younger daughter has different plans for tomorrow. Getting back to cleaning the basement! The cats have made a mess of the new basement, and she’s using that as an excuse to do a deep clean and organization of the space. That basement, however, isn’t much warmer than outside, even with the extra insulation added around the base of the house in the winter. During our recent deep freeze, it simply got too cold to work down there. It should get much better, and stay better, from now on. She wants to get it to the point that they can paint the basement. White paint on the ceiling (which is the exposed beams of the floor above) and special anti-mold and mildew paint for the walls. I don’t know if they want to do the walls white, too, but definitely a light colour. There are quite a few lights down there, but it’s still really dark.

We have a lot of big projects planned for when things warm up. Too many, really. The girls are focusing more on the inside, and are also talking about getting flooring for the kitchen and dining room, and refinishing the kitchen cupboards. Outside, I want to get that mobile coop built (and if that isn’t possible, we’re supposed to be getting a shed given to us that can be used until we can do the mobile one). Another project that will take probably quite a long time, as we acquire materials, is the outdoor kitchen. First priority is the timber frame roof. Once there’s a roof, we can be more leisurely about what we build inside. One side will have a smoker, clay oven, a “stove” opening to fit a large wok, and a grilling area. Two sides will have moveable work stations, and the fire pit will be added. The eaves of the roof will be longer past the wall of one side, where my daughter wants to have a forge.

Since we aren’t able to build the outdoor bathroom where we want to, until after a number of dead trees are removed, I want to do another, smaller, cordwood practise building. We need a new garden shed, so we can build a smaller shed – about 6’x8′ on the inside – in the maple grove, where a couple of trees had been removed while the power lines were being cleared. That is less of a priority, but since things will need to be built in stages, as we get materials, we might actually be able to get started on it this year.

Of course, there are also the high raised beds that need to be built. The outdoor kitchen actually solves something I was trying to figure out. The dead trees that we need to take down are quite large around. Too large to be practical for the high raised beds. I was considering cutting them in half, length wise, but now I’m thinking they’d be extremely strong upright supports for the outdoor kitchen frame. We can cut the lower, thickest, part of the trunks to the length we want, and then use the rest of the trunk for the high raised beds. It’ll mean more trees need to be cut down, but we need to do that, anyhow. With more than 20 dead trees that need to be removed, that’s more than enough to do both uprights for the outdoor kitchen, and the high raised beds.

Of course, there is the garden that needs to be worked on, including building new, permanent trellis tunnels, and other mobile trellises and supports. Plus trees and berry bushes to plant.

Oh, and on top of all these projects, we still need to dismantle that shed with the collapsed roof. We’ll be salvaging parts of it for building projects, such as the chicken coop I want to build. Plus, if we get that done first, I can use the space to build the outdoor kitchen, leaving more space available for the eventual garden beds we’ll be making nearby, where we get much better sunlight.

Feeling so energetic as the weather warms is kind of dangerous. I’m starting to plan way too many things! In the end, how much we actually end up accomplishing will depend on weather conditions. Last year, the flooding prevented a lot of the work I wanted to do, and the year before that it was the extreme heat. But if all we manage is to dismantle the shed, cut down some dead trees, and start setting aside the logs to use for the timber frame, that would be good.

I am so praying for good weather conditions this year, for the garden and for all the work we need to do outside! The last two years have been so brutal, we could really use the break!

The Re-Farmer

Too many!

One of the things I’ve found since starting this blog, is many, many other really awesome blogs that are out there. I started following many of them, and for awhile, was able to keep on top of them, visiting regularly, etc. Getting email notifications for new posts made that easy, since I tend not to use WP Reader, and forget it exists.

There’s a slight problem with that.

I really don’t have the time to keep up with them all.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to catch up this evening – with many stops to do things that need to be done around the house – and have just managed to bring it down to over 3,750 email notifications.

It was over 3,800 when I started. The most I’ve ever had! And that’s after cutting down the number of email notifications I get, while telling myself it would be easier to keep on top of blogs through Reader… only I still don’t have the time to go through Reader, and there’s no way to really get the older posts I missed.

In the past, I’ve gotten the number down quite a bit, resolving to keep going back to my blog email and go through the rest and keep it from getting overwhelming again, but then… 2000 + notifications later, I’m farther behind than before. On top of that, if there are any direct emails in there, they’d be buried in pages of notifications. So I’m not going to do a bulk deleted or anything like that – which I wouldn’t anyhow, because I do actually want to catch up on old posts. There’s a reason I follow all these blogs!

So… if you’re a blogger and haven’t heard from me in a while, no, I haven’t stopped following you, or no longer like your blog. I just haven’t been able to visit in a while!

The Re-Farmer

Oh, what a beautiful day!

My goodness, how awesome it is out there today!

At the time I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was only -18C (about 0F), with no wind chill to speak of. As I write this, less than an hour later, we’re already warmed up to -15C/5F, again with basically no wind chill. We’re supposed to get a high of -10C/14F today. It’s going to seem tropical, after the past week!

I still wasn’t quite able to do my usual rounds. The wind has blown over many of the paths dug out in the snow. I decided it was a good day to test out the new heated gloves and do some digging, starting with the plow ridge across the driveway. My mother’s car had a hard time getting through it, yesterday!

Some of the cattens kept me company.

They love that tire that’s used to keep the doors from blowing open. It gets nice and warm! With how much warmer it is, I’m seeing them running around and playing, all over the place!

Along with the plow ridge, I also cleared the path to the compost heap. The wind had completely filled in parts of it, and the snow was brick-like on top, so that took a while. I didn’t even try to dig the path to the sign cam – too long! – but I had my nice new boots, and plowed my way through the wind packed snow. That was almost as tiring as shoveling! It’ll be easier to dig out later, though. The boots are awesome.

As for the gloves…

They are nice and warm, even without turning on the heat. They didn’t seem to get any more pliable by the time I was done, unfortunately. The long cuffs are great – except that they’re not wide enough to go over the cuffs of my parka, nor narrow enough to go under. So I ended up with both cuffs all bunched up. The stiffness of the gloves makes it hard to put on the second glove, but there was an extra problem. These XL gloves fit my wide hands just fine – but I have short fingers. So any time I tried to do something like adjust the other glove, it was hard to get a good grip with floppy finger tips! Plus, the touch screen sensitive parts on the thumb and pointer finger are slightly ridged and harder, so that gets pushed around more, too. I didn’t even try to test the touch screen sensitivity. I have to take a glove off to get my phone out of my pocket, anyhow, so there was no need – plus, just handling my phone with the gloves would be unnecessarily difficult. The last thing I wanted to do was drop my phone in the snow. I did get a lot of use out of the wrist straps while switching out the memory cards, pausing to get my phone out, or to dig out a tissue to blow my know while digging. I like being able to just drop the gloves and have them hanging!

It’s been quite a while since I switched out the trail cam memory cards. Today is the first time I saw the batteries on the solar cam at anything other than 100%! When I first opened it up and checked, it said the batteries were at 75%, but after I switched the memory card out it went up to 80%. Which tells me that it’s more about the cold. Much to my surprise, the older sign cam’s battery meter was still full bars. I suppose that makes sense, though. The gate cam is mounted on a stand in the open. It would have had the full blast of yesterday’s winds coming from the southeast. The sign cam is not only under a tree, but the sign it’s monitoring, as well as the trees across the road, would have stopped all wind from that direction, so it was quite protected.

It should be interesting to see the files over those freezing cold days! The camera that got stolen would do weird things when it got really cold, like turn everything pink. The new camera has had some cold spells before, but not quite like what we’ve had for the past week, so I’ve yet to get a good look at how it handles severe winter conditions.

Considering how many days of files I’ve got to go through, I think I’ll make some tea, first! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: wildflower seeds are in, and there’s four!

We got more seeds from Veseys in the mail today!

Cheddar is checking them out, too.

I got two packs each of the Western Mix, which will be planted in a location to attract pollinators to the garden, and Alternative Lawn Mix, which will be used to reseed the bare spots under the branch piles in the maple grove that got chipped.

I also got a notification that the storage variety of Delicata squash seeds we ordered has been shipped. They were on back order. We still have some purple beans on back order. Once those come in, the only things left that we ordered from Veseys will be shipped in the spring.

After shifting things around in the aquarium greenhouse yesterday, and noticing that there seemed to be luffa seedlings starting to push their way through the soil in a couple of them, I made sure to look closely this morning. Sure enough, I could just see green starting to show through the soil! So of course, after being out most of the day, I had to check them again when I got home.

There is four of them!

Once they start breaking soil, they really seem to grow fast! Each pot has two seeds planted in it. So far, there is no evidence of the second seeds pushing their way through. They would be thinned down to one eventually, anyhow. I’m just happy to see one in each pot! That heat mat seems to be giving them the boost they needed.

I can’t wait to see how much they’ll grow overnight. 😁

The Re-Farmer

Long day, and still chill!

Well, I’m happy to say that my mother’s car ran well today, though it certainly did not enjoy starting! I made sure to give it time to warm up in the garage, before taking it out into that wind.

My first stop was to the post office, where I had several packages to pick up. One of them was these:

The heated gloves my husband got for me!

They were listed as XL, but they fit quite snugly when I tried them on. They were too stiff to wear while driving, though, so I went back to my mittens!

These have some interesting features. Obviously, they have batteries. The USB charging cable can charge both at the same time, so I’ve got that happening right now.

The third finger on each hand has a finger loop on it. You can just see one on the right glove. I have no idea what that’s for. The finger tips are touch screen compatible. They have wrist loops to keep them from getting lost, as well as being water resistant and having adjustable cuffs.

It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that one of the other parcels was also something my husband had ordered for me. A new pair of the “Military Tactical work boots” to replace the ones he got me last year. I love the side zipper feature on these, and wore them almost constantly, until the leather finally split and cracked on the side of one boot. This time, as soon as he unboxed them, my husband treated them with some leather conditioner – something we actually found while cleaning up the basement. A full gallon jug of it, barely used! He plans to treat the leather regularly with it, so hopefully this pair will last longer.

One other thing that came in the mail was particularly important: my husband’s disabled parking permit! He doesn’t get out much, but when he does, it will make things much easier for him to be park closer.

After picking everything up at the post office, it was off to my mother’s town. The roads were not too bad, though I was driving against blowing snow. Stopping for gas in the wind wasn’t too bad, either. Then it was off to get my mother’s prescriptions, hit the bank, then stop at the Chinese food place to pick up lunch. I even managed to get to my mother’s a bit earlier than I was shooting for!

We had a decent amount of time to visit and have lunch (breakfast, for me!), then head out early for her appointment. I’m glad we did leave early; it was blowing snow the whole way, with very little shelter along the route. Even as small as the profile of my mother’s car is, I could feel us being buffeted, and the engine working to maintain speed against the wind. The place was easy to find, and had plenty of parking, so we didn’t even lose time with that, and got there about half an hour early.

The specialist my mother was seeing shares a building with another clinic and a pharmacy. As we came in, there were signs all over, saying that even though there are no longer any restrictions, they still required masks. Which is bizarre, since yet another study was just released showing that wearing masks or not makes no difference in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, even when comparing surgical masks with N95 masks, at all (there’s now close to 80 such studies, just in the last few years, with exactly the same end results). You’d think the medical community would be on top of this sort of thing. We passed several of these signs just going through the two sets of doors; I’m not sure my mother even saw them. There were even stand alone signs scattered around main lobby area. As we entered, a woman wearing a mask started coming over, asking which doctor we were there to see. I gave the name and she directed us to the doors behind us. Doors that didn’t have a single sign on them. We walked in, and there wasn’t a mask in sight. Not the receptionist, not the other patients, and not the doctor. It was like a sanctuary of sanity in a sea of junk science!

Getting there early meant we got brought into the examination room early, but the doctor took longer with another patient, so he actually saw us late. Which was fine, except my mother got it in her head that the car would freeze and not start because we were waiting soooo long. I reminded her that I spent more time with her in her apartment before we headed out, and the car started just fine. Plus, the day was still getting warmer! She wasn’t satisfied until the doctor finally came in and she brought it up with him – and he promised to give us a boost if the car didn’t start! 😄

The visit started out a bit confusing, because we were thinking we were there about her breathing issues, but this was a referral about her acid reflux. When she gets really bad heart burn while lying down, she also has trouble breathing, and thinks she’s having a heart attack. Her heart checked out extremely healthy – fantastic for someone in her 90’s – but she still can’t accept that there’s nothing wrong with her heart. The doctor tried questioning her, but eventually started explaining things more to me, while simplifying things for my mother, as he figured out that I would be working to explain things to her later on. He asked her all kinds of questions, but it’s really hard to get clear answers from her, because she keeps wanting to talk about other things.

One of the things that came out is that my mother has been taking all her pills – she thinks she’s taking a lot, but really, it’s not that many – with food. She’s on a medication for acid reflux, that is in her bubble packs as a morning pill. It is NOT supposed to be taken with food, which I never saw indicated anywhere. She should also be taking it in the evening. She takes her evening pills at 5pm, but doesn’t go to bed until 11, so we talked about changing the timing.

After questioning her more, he decided it was appropriate to get a scope done on her, to check if there is any damage from the reflux. Then he talked to her about dietary changes. I recognized what he was talking about and reminded my mother that I’d given her a printout of what foods were good and which weren’t, and she said she never looks at it. *sigh* High acid foods are things she should be avoiding, like citrus fruits, onions and garlic, and tomatoes.

My mother loves her onions and tomatoes.

My sister recently gave her onions and a jar of tomatoes from her garden.

I’ve sent the food list to my sister, and we’ve talked about this before, but my sister just seems to forget completely!

A few more things were discussed, and then we headed out, stopping to get some information about the scope from the receptionist.

My mother was already trying to back out of it, asking if she really needed to get it done.

*sigh*

When she has these “attacks”, she gets really scared and things she is literally dying. But she hasn’t had one in a while, so now she doesn’t want to actually do anything about it.

The appointment was set for the end of this month and, after checking with my mother, my number got put down as the person to call with more information and instructions, closer to the date, which I will then pass on and explain to her. We also got a printout for her about the procedure and what she needs to do in advance. That was something for us to go over when I got her home.

I had offered to help my mother with shopping if she felt up to it, but she wanted to do that in her own town. All she needed was milk, anyhow. I did realize, with the longish drive ahead, it would be a good idea to find a public washroom before we got on the highway. There was a Walmart handy, so I ended up going in, while she stayed warm in the car, so I picked up milk for her, anyhow! I’m glad it worked out that way because, by the time we got her home, I don’t think either of us was up to a grocery trip!

I then spent perhaps an hour going through things with her. While driving home and talking about her medication change, she suddenly told me she was already taking that one pill (she didn’t understand what it was for, even though it has been explained to her by me, my brother and her doctor) in the evening. That was something the specialist should have been told! She was still taking it with food, though, and too early, so we worked out that she would be taking that one pill shortly before bed. I had quite a time convincing her that it was ONLY the one pill that needed to be changed, and that she didn’t need to change anything else. She kept thinking she shouldn’t take any of them with food now, but I know for sure that at least one of them is supposed to be taken with food. Then we went over the printout. I marked out on her calendar, when she needs to stop taking things like blood thinners (and confirming which of her pills is a blood thinner – when the doctor had asked about them, she couldn’t remember exactly why she was on them, other than “they are to prevent stroke”, and she’s been on them longer than we’ve been back, so I don’t know, either), vitamins, aspirin, etc, when to start fasting, and when not to take any of her meds at all. Then more notes were written down inside the cover of her bubble packs, complete with little drawings of the pill shapes.

While going through the printout, I got to the part where it said they would have her lying down on her left side.

But she can’t lie on her left side, she tells me. If she does, she gets the pain and problems with breathing.

????

Yes, she’s mentioned that she slept on her side (which is recommended for reflux) to the doctor, but didn’t specify why she slept only on her right side.

Turns out that she gets these attacks every time she tries sleeping on her left side. They happen when she’s on her right side, only sometimes, and that’s when she wants to go to a doctor about it.

That was something the specialist should have been told, but she seemed surprised that this wasn’t automatically understood when she had said she slept on her side!

*sigh*

It took some doing, but we got through it. Before I left, she paid me back for the lunch and gas, so before heading home, I stopped at the bank again to do a deposit, then went back to the gas station to fill the tank again. Driving against the wind really did a number on the mileage!

I am so glad I had the wind at my back for the drive home.

Where my mother is, it is sheltered, but the gas station is not. WOW did the wind increase since morning! It’s still blowing now. Even though the temperature is a relatively warm -18C/about 0F, the wind chill was about -33C/-27F. I think the wind chill was even colder while I was filling the tank again! It was absolutely brutal! I picked up a couple other little things then headed back to the car, pausing to check for messages from the family before I left. Which is the only reason I saw the notification from my bank about the purchase I’d just made.

The number was very off.

They forgot to charge me for the gas!

So I went back in and paid for it. 😄

I’m glad I caught it when I did, or I wouldn’t have seen it until I got home.

And I was sure glad to get home! The running around is pretty draining, but all that time trying to explain things to my mother gets pretty difficult after a while, even though she was definitely having one of her good days.

I’m glad it got done, though.

I’ll also be glad when this chill finally ends. It’s still only -18C/about 0F out there, and the wind chill is still at -33C/-27F! If the forecast is right, the winds will die down in a few hours, and then things will steadily warm up over the next while.

I’m looking forward the air no longer hurting my face!

The Re-Farmer

Winter doesn’t want to let go

We are slowly coming out of what should be the last bitterly cold night of the winter. Last night, we dipped to at least -33C/-27F, with wind chills in the -40’s C/F The sun room, however, never seem to get much colder than -10 to -15C (14 to 5F).

The cattens took full advantage of that.

My husband got this picture through the bathroom window last night. From what I can see, there is only one adult in the pile; Broccoli.

As I write this, we’re coming up on 9am. My desktop’s weather app says we are at -28C/-18F still, with a wind chill of -38C/-36F The app on my phone, however, says we’ve warmed up to -26C/3F with a wind chill of -33C/-27F We should warm up a few degrees before I have to try starting my mother’s car. She and I spoke on the phone last night and already talked about rescheduling her appointment, if I don’t think her car would be safe to drive.

While getting bundled up before doing the outside cat stuff, I noticed something that is a first since we’ve moved here.

There is frost on the doorknob of the main entry door! We do have a sheet of insulation between the doors, but it doesn’t cover about 8 inches on the knob side of the door. We’ve got frost on the bottom, and on the windows, but I’ve never seed frost on the doorknob like this before. Not even last winter, when we didn’t insulate the door at all, since the hinges were a problem and we didn’t want to open it if we could avoid it.

I just realized that’s quite the reflection of me with my parka tucked under my arm! 😄

I had another surprise as I fought my way past the barricade of cattens under the old kitchen doors to feed them. Several of them were wanting to get into the old kitchen (which is colder than the sun room right now!), including one of the tabbies. We have several tabbies among the babies this year and, so far, only Judgement, a brown tabby, has been socialized.

This baby?

I got to pet him.

And I don’t mean just sneaking a pet while he (or she) was eating, only to have him run away. Nope.

After filling a couple of kibble trays, he was still spinning around at my feet, so I started petting him. He was a bit startled, looked at me in shock – then started pushing his head against my hand for more pets!

After that, food was more interesting, but I’m just amazed!

Also… I’m not sure who’s baby this is. We have a dark grey tabby that’s got a bit of white on him, and we have one that’s almost a black tabby, also with a bit of white on him. There’s also a big, fully grey tabby with more spotty markings from the oldest litter that I haven’t seen around for a while. This tabby is smaller.

I’m so losing track of all the cats, but…

Is this a new one?

Unlikely, but possible. The only reason I even suspect it’s a new cat is because I was able to pet it!

I didn’t even try to do a head count. Even the brief time I was outside the sun room was brutal.

Ah, the irony. My husband got me an early Valentine’s Day gift – heated gloves. They arrived at the post office, yesterday. I didn’t dare drive either of the vehicles to get the mail, so I’m leaving early to do it before going to my mother’s.

I’m going to have heated gloves, just in time for the end of the bitter cold!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: shifting spaces, and you can do it, little luffa!

A little bit of garden therapy on this cold, cold day. According to one of my phone weather apps, we’ve reach -25C/-13F, with a wind chill of -33C/-27F. Hopefully, things will keep warming up for another hour or two because it takes the predicted deep dive overnight!

Our onion seedlings are getting tall enough that it was time to move them away from the light. Which, for our aquarium greenhouse, means rearranging things inside the tank.

The onions are going to need a hair cut soon!

The tray holding the onions is on the heat mat, which was unplugged when the seedlings started showing. Onions prefer cooler soil, anyhow. The luffa, however, have not germinated yet, and need warmer soil. They were raised up higher on a box, to get some of the warmth from the lights, but the heat mat would be beneficial for them – assuming these 3 yr old seeds are still viable at all. Shifting the two, and removing the box the luffa were on, would give the onions the space from the lights they needed, and the heat mat should make up for the slightly reduced height for the luffa pots.

Since they are in a plastic drain tray, I added the aluminum oven liner sheet to protect the plastic from getting over heated and diffuse the heat a bit, even though the warming mat doesn’t get very hot.

As I was doing this, I noticed what appeared to be disturbed soil, where that arrow is pointing.

So I took a peak.

Yes!!!!

There is a baby luffa sprout, starting to push its way up through the soil! One of the other pots seems to have a new soil hill, too, but I didn’t peak under that one, and just gently covered the first one up again.

Hopefully, the extra warmth will encourage more germination!

When it comes time to transplant these, I want to find a way to have them in the very sheltered microclimate on the south side of the house that we will be growing the lemongrass in. They can be grown in pots, if the pots are large enough. A 5 gallon bucket would be the right size for one plant. Not that I’d waste a bucket by drilling drainage holes in it. I think we have other containers we can use that are large enough. The challenge will be in how to also include a trellis for them to climb.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see how many germinate and survive, first!

You can do it, baby luffa!!

The Re-Farmer