A long day – and yes, I got critter pictures!

It’s the last business day of the month – payday – so it was off to the city to stock up for the next month.  I rather prefer to be able to do that in an afternoon in the middle of the week.  As someone who hates crowds and shopping, it was a LOT less stressful.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

I was actually able to get some photos this morning.  Much to my delight, we had 5 deer visitors this morning.

First to arrive were Mama and the twins.


Her babies are getting so big!

And confident, too.  I caught on that Hungry Girl and Barbecue had shown up, too, only because I saw the twins chase them into the spruces!

At one point, while Mama and the twins were eating, I saw that something else was making Mama nervous.  Something close to the house…


Yes, our very own cryptid, the Mothman, showed up this morning!  I saw her a few days ago, going by in the same area between the feed and the house, but other than that, we haven’t been seeing her at all lately.  It never fails; each time I see her, I am again struck by how big she is.

This was before I’d gone out to feed the critters, and so I popped out right away, hoping to see the Mothman.  Alas, she had disappeared, once again.  Not a sign of her, anywhere!

The other cats where happy to see me, though.


Nasty Crime Boy, Beep Beep and Butterscotch dove right in.  Lately, the food bowls have been completely empty by morning – picked clean.  I’m not sure if it’s the cats that are finishing the food off.  I see enough tracks in the snow to know that some birds are eating the kibble, too.  Skunks come by, but they tend to be rather dormant this time of year.  I recall we briefly saw one before the snow, but not since.


Squishum and Rolando Moon got a bowl to themselves.  Rolando Moon is why I tend to be surprised by Mothman’s size.  Rolanda Moon is so much bigger than the other cats, with a big round belly – we thought she was pregnant at first, but she is the one my brother had fixed shortly after my husband and younger daughter arrived.  She’s just big.  I see her and begin to think that she and Mothman are close in size.  But then I see Mothman again and… yeah.  Mothman is quite a lot bigger than Rolanda Moon.

Once back inside, I found Mama and the twins had gone, but soon after, Hungry Girl and Barbecue came out of the trees.


Whatever was making them so skittish in the past week or so, seems to no longer be bothering them.  They seem a bit more relaxed, and tolerant of our movements inside.


I just really like this picture of Hungry Girl.  Such a pretty lady. 🙂

After this, my older daughter and I worked on our shopping list.  Last month, we got 3 big bags of dry cat food at Costco, as well as a bag of mixed bird seed to supplement the bag of bird seed we got locally.  I opened the third bag of dry cat food just this morning.  We decided to stay with 3 bags of cat food, but not to get more bird seed for now.  The mixed bird seed bag is cheap at Costco, but we decided to wait until we get the bird feeder cleaned out and possibly moved by the living room window (we might just get another feeder), and start getting bird seed in the spring.  For now, the birds we have this time of year are happy eating the deer feed, which has the same seeds as in the big bag of bird seed we got locally.  Last month, we got 2 bags of deer feed and there is still a bit left of the second one, so we’ll likely get 3 or 4 bags of deer feed, instead of both deer feed and bird seed.  At least for the next month or two.

We also decided not to get things like flour, as we can get a really good price locally, and I’d just got a big bag not long ago.  And we still have lots of canned cat food left, too, so we decided to skip that.  We also still haven’t even opened the laundry detergent we got last time, nor the container of cat litter, so a couple more things didn’t need to be added to the list.  We are well stocked up on quite a few things, still, so our list got to be focused a lot more on actual food! 😀

That gave us room to get things we pick up more rarely; a case of Coke Zero and a case of V8 – we don’t have bottle depots in this province to get our enviro fees back, but we’re keeping the pop tabs (pure aluminum) and the cans themselves separate from the rest of the recycling.  When we have enough, we’ll take them in to someplace that will pay us for the metal by weight.  It might take us a long time to have enough to make it worth hauling in, but we appear to have a lot of space to store such things now. 😉

Because I wanted to check out an aquarium store in the area, we decided to go to the Costco closest to us – the one with the pharmacy that didn’t know wtf they were doing, and the horribly designed parking lot.  It’s a smaller one, too.  I just didn’t feel like driving to one of the two locations farther away, then come back to a store that’s on the same street as the closer one.

Thankfully, because of the time of day, it was not very busy.  A relative statement for a Costco, I know. 😀  We filled a flat cart with our shopping, this time using our hard sided grocery bags to help keep the smaller stuff from falling.  That worked out well.

One the the main things we are sure to pick up the most of at Costco is meats, because it’s so much cheaper than the local grocery stores – and mostly pork, because that’s even cheaper.  This time, we picked up a big bag of oranges, too.  Normally, we get fresh fruits and vegetables in smaller quantities at the local grocery stores, but my husband has been getting some dangerously low blood sugar readings, so he asked for some oranges. (Yes, we also have the glucose tablets.)  We got twice as much eggs as usual. I typically get the double trays with 60 eggs.  We go through a lot of eggs, yet never seem to have enough to boil up a whole bunch for quick snacks or to make egg salad. 😀   We also got an extra gallon of milk, to make more yogurt.

My daughter has a birthday coming up, so we picked up a big fillet of salmon for her birthday dinner, as well as a big bag of mixed baby potatoes (we will have lots of regular potatoes, thanks to my sister dropping off another bag).  I look forward to making a special dinner for her. 🙂

All in all, I think we’re well stocked for the month again.  We didn’t even have much we needed to get elsewhere, though we did stop at a Save On Foods in the area.   That was my usual place to shop before our move.  I even used to work there, many years ago, and found it a great company to work for, so I’m glad to support it when I have the chance.

On the way out, we found the aquarium and fish supplies shop I was looking for – it was kind of tucked away from the road, so I almost missed it. *L*

I talked to someone there about finding a replacement for a part I broke on our filter system, when trying to dismantle it for packing.  I was hoping to replace all the hoses, as they are getting old and stiff.  Unfortunately, no one in the city carries this brand, and the other brands use very different hoses, and none of that particular part.  And I’m not about to replace the whole thing, just for a missing part.  For the 90 gallon tank, the size we need cost about $380-$450, depending on the brand!  After talking to him for a bit, he had a suggestion for me to try and use it anyhow – it’s stuck in the hose, anyhow, so since the part broke while I was trying to remove it from the hose, it’s not like it will pop off.  I’ll have to take another look at it and see if it can be salvaged.  I would REALLY like to get our 90 gallon tank going again.  That 20 gallon tank was supposed to be much more temporary!

Which lead me to my next request from the guy I was talking to; to show me to their algae eaters!  I had got 10 neon tetras to provide the oxygen/CO2 balance for the tank I needed.  Unfortunately, after a week or so, I woke up to a mass die off!  I found 6 dead tetras, and there were two live ones left.  I never found the missing 2.  Unfortunately, 2 tetras really aren’t enough for the amount of plants I have in there, though there is certainly enough plants that I don’t need an aerator.  I’m also having a harder time with algae.  Partly because the tank is next to a window, which it shouldn’t be, but I have no place else that will hold it – another reason I want to get that big tank going.

The guy first lead me to some golden plecos.  Now, I love plecos, but they get BIG.  When we got our first pair of little plecos, one of them killed and ate the other.  Then it eventually grew to over a 18 inches long.  Regular plecos can get much, much bigger than that.  I want to focus more on plants when I set up the new tank, with just enough animals to have the right balance.  Long term, I want it so that I don’t even need a filter, and have a self-contained, ecosystem.  Plecos would be too big and active for this.

When I mentioned that I’d had two Siamese Algae eaters before, but that they didn’t survive the move, the guy lead me to the ones they had, and I got two of them.

Here is one of them.


Okay.  I wasn’t going to say anything at the shop, but I’m pretty sure these are Chinese algae eaters, not Siamese.  They are a lot smaller than the ones we had before, but the mouths are different, for starters.  Siamese Algae eaters do not have the suckerfish mouths to attach to the side of the tank like that.  We shall see as they get bigger to properly identify them.

The main thing is that they are algae eaters, and that’s what I need.  They will be good with my aquatic plants.

I must admit, even with the algae, it’s much easier to maintain a tank with well water than with treated city water.  I almost never need to use additives.

By the time we got home, it was almost evening, and I sure was happy to be back in our home in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t realize just how much I’d come to dislike the noise and activity of the city until we moved away from it.  I don’t mind visiting it.  I just don’t want to live there.

I got a call from my mother this evening.  She was in the habit of asking me how the cats are outside.  Now she has started to ask me how the deer are, too!  They were never around when my parents were here; at least not regularly.  No one was feeding them, so they had no reason to.  She is really enjoying hearing about the antics of our regular visitors – and got a chuckle out of the names I’ve given them.  😀

I also mentioned to her my thought of adding a ramp to the outside of the house.  I’ve learned that my brother who lives next door was going to build one for my dad, after he’d had so many falls, but then my dad went into the nursing home.  My sister does freelance house designing, so she’s got the code book for that sort of thing and was able to give me the details.  My mom was okay with the idea, which is good, since it’s her house, after all.  It would make things easier for her, too, when she visits.  She has an awful time with those two steps right outside the main door, too.

All in good time.

I remembered to ask her about the stuff we found in the horror tunnel.  It took me a while to get her to remember where I was talking about.  She’d forgotten about it completely.  She said she was storing stuff.  I’m not sure she completely understood what I was describing to her, because “storing stuff” doesn’t describe what we found tossed in there!  Then she went on to talking about how she never threw away anything that might get used.

Yup.  And then some! LOL  Plus lots of things that would never get used again.  Plus things stored in places that don’t protect the things in them very well.  Plus storing things in places where it’s virtually impossible to get at them again!

I’m all for saving useful things, but my goodness.  A line has to be drawn somewhere!

Which, I admit, is much harder to do when you live somewhere that has lots of places to leave things and forget about them.


The Re-Farmer

Data Vampire Slain?

So about a month and a half ago, I discovered the reason we were screaming through our internet’s data plan so quickly.

I had a Data Vampire in my own desktop.


For some reason, my desktop’s system was using over 80 GIGS of data, and I had no way to find out what, specifically, was causing it.  With only 100 gigs on our plan, it’s no wonder we were going over so quickly!

So I went through everything I could think of to try and shut things off.  Then, at the end of the month, I reset the usage stats.


Even by then, I could see a difference, as total usage within the past 30 days had already gone down.

Here is my currant usage.


Well, there we have it.  In the space of about 4 weeks, my system used less than 3 gigs of data.  A difference of close to 80 gigs!

My browsers used more data – I use one for this blog, so there are a lot of photos uploaded, while with the other, I had uploaded some videos this month, so I used it more than usual, even taking into account that I gave up Facebook for Lent.

My total usage for the past 4 weeks was just over 13 gigs.  Slightly more than what I use on WiFi with my phone which, after I no longer visited Facebook, dropped from about 11 gigs in 30 days, to less than 10.

Our original internet account reached about 88% before we switched over to the new satellite (a matter of switching cables on the router).  With the new account, we haven’t even hit 45% yet.  Which means that, in total, we used more than 100 gigs, so having two accounts is still saving us money.

I still have no way of knowing what exactly on my computer was sucking our data plan dry, but whatever it was, I seemed to have stopped it.

So we’ll only be paying about $200 a month total for internet, instead of closer to $400.

Still more expensive than if we had been able to install a tower and get non-satellite internet, but at least we’ve GOT internet.

Unless something weird happens, it appears our Data Vampire has been slain!

The Re-Farmer

Warming Up

I must say, I’ve been really enjoying the warmer weather we’ve been having lately!

There is a down side to it, though.  Insects that would normally be hibernating right now, are coming out in droves.  Flies, I’m used to, but mostly it’s these guys.


They are EVERYWHERE!  As I started this post, there was one crawling up the wall.  Every now and then, we hear the distinctive “tick” of one of them landing on the floor or some other hard surface.  They congregate on window sills and corners.  When washing up before bed, I find them crawling across the soap.  Every now and then, we’ll discover one that’s crushed on the floor, as we’ve inadvertently walked on them.  I’ve even found my beside touch lamp triggered by several of them, walking along the metal base. !!

Our daughters have been vacuuming them up several times a day, lately.  Unfortunately, that’s not really an option on the main floor.

These are not our local species of ladybug (coccinellidae).  I’m told that these are the imported Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) that we were told have been particularly bad this past summer.

Apparently, they bite, too.

Not much we can do about it but vacuum them up, really.  They’re still a beneficial bug, but can be a problem in greater quantities.


Maybe we can take a lesson from our cat and just chill.

That’s her, with her chin draped over the plant stand, in front of my crochet corner.  She has a thing about draping her chin over things.  Or using objects as chin pillows.  Typically, not the object the rest of her body is on. 😀

In other news, I got a call back from the septic guy that has been coming to our farm for many, many years.  I’d left a message for him over the weekend, mentioning that the tank hasn’t been done in at least two years.  We are concerned that the tank might back up into the basement, as has happened in the past, now that there’s suddenly 4 people using the system.  He remembered the farm and the ejector system we have.  While he was willing to come out and do the tank, he recommended against it, while the ground was still frozen.  He was confident that we’d actually be okay until the fall.  To get it done now, while the ground is still frozen, introduced a potential risk.  It would take a while for the tank to fill again with water, triggering the ejector to send it out to the field, far from the house.  Normally, any water in the pipes after it was emptied would drain back into the tank, but with the ground shifting over the years, there would be pockets of water remaining that would freeze, or the septic field itself would freeze, over the days it would take before warm water was once again being ejected from the tank.  This would cause a major problem.  The only way to fix that would be to find the blockage, then dig a hole to the pipe to repair it.  In his opinion, emptying the thank now would put us at greater risk for that sort of scenario than for our tank having too much solids.

So I’m thinking that we will likely get it done in the late spring (the earliest he recommended), then go back to having it done every September.

Meanwhile, I got a response from another expert I’d asked advice for regarding our situation with the Co-op we left behind.  It was most helpful.  He made some of the same recommendations the lawyer did, but had other suggestions that the lawyer, not being as familiar with housing co-ops, would not have known to suggest.

Oh, how I wish I didn’t have to still deal with this crap.

Speaking of dealing with crap…

painMy husband had a medical appointment today, adding two more people to his team of caregivers; a joint meeting with a dietician and a diabetic nurse.  It was not pleasant.  He was having a very bad pain day.  Pain is a complicating factor, as pain causes high blood sugar reading.  So does things like lack of sleep, and numerous other things.  We’re basically treating a symptom.

Thankfully, on having it pointed out to them that he was in great pain at that moment, they were willing to cut through the usual stuff (which he’d heard before, anyhow) and go straight to options.  The best one of them being that, in the future, they could have these appointments over the phone, instead of him coming in.

Meanwhile, I took advantage of the appointment and got the process started to move my own medical files over – then ran into an old friend in the waiting room!  It was good to see her again.  I look forward to our being able to get together to catch up.

Slowly but surely, little by little, we’ll get all this medical stuff switched over to our new home.

The Re-Farmer






A few more steps forward.

Well, I got a couple of things accomplished to move us forward today.  This morning, I had a consultation with my lawyer about the Co-op situation.  I’ve been consulting with a lawyer about their actions against me for some time, but I really thought that would be over with, now that we’re no longer living there.  *sigh*

The next thing was certainly more positive.  I had to go in to town for a prescription refill for my husband today and FINALLY remembered to grab the information the pharmacy needed to be able to transfer my prescriptions from our old pharmacy over.  I could have done it by phone, but just never remembered during business hours.  I haven’t been taking my meds since I ran out before Christmas.  Reduction in stress meant I was already reducing my doses, anyhow.  My goal is to get off them completely, but with the Co-op BS still hanging over my, that’s going to be a bit more difficult.  Still, any progress is better than no progress!

Today was baking day for the girls, and this time they made “piggies in a blanket” by wrapping ropes of our usual sourdough bread around hot dog wieners and baking them.  It works well for a treat every now and then. 🙂

With how warm it’s going to be for the next while, the girls and I are planning on getting things moved out to the shed again soon.  Which means back to packing up more of my mother’s things that we’ve been ignoring until we could actually get them out.  If all goes well, we’ll finally get 3 more dressers out of the way (my parents seemed to collect dressers!), and once a weird little nook beside the old kitchen is clear, we can FINALLY move the cat litter out of the corner of the dining room and into its permanent spot!  We’ll be able to clear out some stuff that got shoved into the sunroom, too – it’ll be nice to be able to open the door all the way again, when we go in for the cat kibble and deer feed.  Once spring has reached a point that everything is dry outside – at least near the house – we will empty the entire room, clean it out and set it up to suit our own uses.  I have a few ideas the room can be used for, along with just enjoying the room itself.  My dad used to love sitting in there.  His walker is still there.  I’ll be hanging on to that, just in case.  There have been more than a few times when I’ve wished I’d had one handy for my own use, given how my knees and metatarsals tend to dislocate unexpectedly.  That’s always fun.  Not.

The Re-Farmer

Sometimes, it’s the “bad” photos that are my favourites. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Today’s Critters

Not a lot of photos today, as I made it in to church at the next town – the church of my childhood this time.

I don’t know that I’ll be going back.  I’m not surprised that things have changed after all these years, but some of it came off as rather creepy – and that was just with the announcements before service even started!  The weird birthday blessing with outreached hands is something I’ve never seen before, and the community greeting before service started, where everyone was expected to go around shaking hands, was another new one for me.  It was enough to make ME uncomfortable, and I’m the sort of person who will happily greet strangers I’m introduced to with a hug and a kiss on each cheek.

It didn’t help that I could understand the priest half the time.  I have an auditory processing disorder, which means that while my hearing is fine, the message gets sometimes gets scrambled.  Sometimes I, literally, hear gibberish.  Other times, I get gaps.  I know words were spoken; I know my ears heard the sound, but it just didn’t make it to my brain.  Most of the time, I hear enough that I can figure out what I missed, but if there are visual distractions, strong accents, or if a person doesn’t enunciate clearly, it can be a struggle.  This priest seems to have an aversion to moving his mouth when speaking.  Between that and how the responses have changed since I went here as a kid, it made it difficult to follow the service.

I’m really hoping we won’t have to go to the city for church!

At least I should be able to go there to get our Easter baskets blessed.

Anyhow.  Back to the critters!


First up, we have another cheeky blue jay with a seed in its mouth.


The red squirrels were certainly enjoying the fact that the deer are too skittish to hang around.  Doesn’t this one look like the most polite little gentleman? 😀


The Beep Beep came by and plunked himself into a pile of seeds, and for a while, only the brave little chickadees and redpolls were willing to dive bomb the seeds around him.

Shortly after I took this, I noticed he’d moved to another pile of seeds.

Except… there was something odd about the way he was sitting there.

Something very… tense…

That’s when I realized he wasn’t sitting at all.

He was taking a dump.

In the seeds.

Which he then buried with snow.

What a jerk!

Later on, the girls called to me from upstairs, telling me to get the camera and look at the top of the dead spruce tree.

I got this next shot from the second floor.


That’s either Nasty Crime Boy or Trüllbus the Crime Eater.  Just hanging out, enjoying the view! 😀

Unlike Butterscotch, he had no issues getting back down again!

Too funny!

The Re-Farmer

Horror Movie Set!

Oh, my poor, brave, brave daughter!

I got a response from my brother, after I told him about the drip in the bathroom ceiling.  Among the things he told me was to check in the crawl space above the bathroom.


This picture is from when the girls had started cleaning the upstairs in preparation for painting.  Look at the top left.

See that triangular bit that’s brown?

That’s where the access panel is.

The wall is at an angle under the roof, and there’s a section about 2-3 feet high that’s walled off to hide the ducts and pipes and wires.

I honestly thought it was closed off, but it turns out that panel just pops right off.

That’s where the pipes and ducts for the bathroom are.

My younger daughter is the only one who could possibly fit in there, and still be able to move around.

At least, in theory.

Because it was painted, the panel needed to be pried off.

There’s stuff in there.

Not right at the front.  No.  Further in, and all the way to the back, past the pipes and ducting.

Also, lots of old mouse droppings.

I had grabbed a hook I’d found when cleaning my mother’s old bedroom, made from a straightened wire hanger, and my daughter poked around a bit.

Which is when she found a live spider.

She is arachnophobic.

That was it.  She was willing to crawl into the horror movie death hole with dusty books and jars, cobwebs and mouse droppings, right up until live spiders came into play.

The poor thing managed to hold it together, but she just couldn’t do it.

So I figured I’d give it a try.


Why is that stuff there?  How is that stuff there?

My knees are shot, so I borrowed my other daughter’s knee pads (she has a bum knee, too), and set up the vacuum cleaner.   I vacuumed the mouse droppings and dust from the front, used the hook to drag some stuff out, vacuumed again, hooked out some more stuff, vacuumed again, hooked out some more stuff, vacuumed again…

And that was as far as I could reach.

The photo is from after I’d vacuumed and taken out the stuff closest to the opening.  You can see all the crud that got dragged with it, that I needed to vacuum again.  I’m not sure if you can tell, but there is what appears to be fabric – an old coat? sweater? – way in the back, past the duct and pipes.

After clearing things out as much as I could, it was time to try and crawl in.

I couldn’t even get into the opening.

To get in, you have to bend around a corner.  My shoulders got jammed between the slanted portion of the wall and the edge of the opening.

Theoretically, I could have squirmed down on my belly and squirmed my way forward.  Maybe.  Not likely.  But even if i could, once I reached the stuff I couldn’t clear out, that would have been it.

At this point, my brave, brave daughter was willing to try again.

She donned the knee pads, gloves and mask, grabbed the flashlight, and started to squirm her way in.

She couldn’t get all the way in the opening.

Because of the angle, the only way she could have fit would have been to combat crawl her way along the bottom.  And while she does not share my generous proportions, it was still too tight to move much as at all.  Then she would have reached the stuff I couldn’t put out, which would have blocked her way, and would have had to somehow pass it back to me, then continue on.  Because of where the drip was happening, she would have had to go at least as far as those pipes.

It wasn’t going to happen.

She could, however, see more from her vantage point.

There are obvious signs of old moisture damage, but nothing looks recent.

Wherever the water was getting in from, it doesn’t look like it was coming through this space.

But without going all the way in, we really can’t say that for sure.

I’d responded to my brother, mentioning that I hadn’t thought the crawl space was accessible, and he’d written back.  Oh, yes, he tells me.  It’s quite accessible.  Then he described having to go in there to put in the wiring for the new electric furnace, dragging himself along a few inches as a time, while pulling the wire.

Now, my brother is a thin man, but he’s not tiny.  With the angle of the roof on one side, it would have been like a giant sausage casing.

This is like a scene straight out of a horror movie.

Speaking of which…


This is the stuff I was able to get out of the horror tunnel.

First aid books.  An old Polish prayer book.  A jug from pickling vinegar.  An empty binder.  A book on car repair.  Maps.  And… other things.

I didn’t want to look too closely.

Why did the stuff get put in there?  HOW did the stuff get put in there?  When?  I mean, if my brother crawled around in there, was it already there and he just crawled over it all?  If it got put in after, how did stuff get so far to the back?  Or has it been there since the area got walled off, after we got running water and the bathroom was installed?

I’m just… amazed.

Just think.  If we hadn’t had that drip, we wouldn’t have had a reason to open the space up and wouldn’t have known there was stuff in there.

I could have lived without that knowledge.

The Re-Farmer

Around outside

A last post about my walkabout in our yard.


The spruce grove next to the house might be what’s preventing us from being able to get more stable internet (with better data plans!), but it sure is beautiful.


This view is from the end of our garden near the road to our driveway.  As you can see, there are quite a lot of downed trees in there.  Quite a few dead trees that we will eventually need to cut down, too.

Well, we’ll have plenty of wood for our fire pit, when the time comes!


In a corner of the yard, near the fire pit, is one of several old log cabins on the property.  The wall facing into the yard has vertical boards for siding.

There used to be a gooseberry bush at the opposite corner.  I used to love picking the juicy, tart green berries and eat them when I was a child.

Years later, I discovered that they were supposed to be eaten after they turned red and soft.  I’d always thought that was when they’d gone bad, because they tasted so bland. 😀

I don’t know what happened to that gooseberry bush.  It’s not there anymore, and other trees are growing near where it was.

This wall here faces what used to be an open area where my late brother had his “bike shop.”  There were all sorts of bike parts and pieces that he would use to cobble bikes together.

Quite a lot of those parts and pieces seem to still be there, rusting away.


I’ve read that this type of corner joining for log buildings is a style mostly unique to our region.

This old shed was used for storage for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know what its original purpose was.


This is part of the inside.  The roof is collapsing on both sides.  The rafters are full of all sorts of things.  I have no idea what that machine is, but it looks like it runs the length of the building.

The stuff jammed into there is amazing.  An old wringer washer.  An electric stove.  What looks like a very, very old washer and drier set.  Pieces of antenna.  Head and foot boards.  Old window frames.  A bike that I think used to be ours.  Tires.

I don’t think anything in there is salvageable.  It all just got shoved in there and forgotten about.


This old log building looks to be in better shape.

That’s a relative statement.

This is actually outside the fenced part of our yard, but is still part of the larger yard that includes the barn and various outbuildings (and cars, trucks, tractors, hay rakes, fuel tanks… ).  Before my father bought the property, this was the “summer kitchen.”  There was a wood stove and the cooking and canning would be done in here in the summer, rather than in the main house, so the house wouldn’t get overheated.  I imagine it reduced the risk of burning the house down, too. :-/

We used it as a chicken coop.  There was a walled in area around two sides of the building for a chicken run, though we would let them out during the day in the summer.

I briefly considered going over to look inside.

I changed my mind.


I just didn’t feel like working my way through the barrier of burs!


We’re back in the yard, next to the house again.

My late brother built this bird house for my mother, and it can be seen from our dining room window.  My mother is a strongly religious person, so he built it in the shape of a church.

It still gets used by birds every year.  I am hoping that we will have a chance to take it down and fix it up this year.  Maybe prune back some of the branches around the post, too.  Once we have a better idea of what’s actually growing there.  It’s in what was one of my mother’s many little flower gardens around the yard, but it seems to be all bushes now.

What I would love to do is have a deck built along this side of the house, with a ramp leading to the end of the house where the current main entry way is, and the direction we need to go to get to the van, so that my husband doesn’t have to fight with the door while trying to get his walker up and down the steps.  Then we’d also be able to start using what is supposed to be the front door.  If that happens, this garden bed will likely need to be taken at least partly out.  Which would not be a bad thing, I am thinking.

The Re-Farmer

Happy Trails

As I went out to empty our kitchen scraps onto the compost pile at the edge of the garden area, I paused to look around and noticed something interesting.

There were trails, everywhere.

And not one of them made by human feet.

They were all deer trails.

They all lead to our feeding station!


This is by far the most well worn trail of them all, cutting through an old section of the garden that hasn’t been in use for some time.


This pathway runs between the maple grove and rows of spruces that were planted much later.  You see that post in the mid-ground?  That’s where there is a water tap.  When I was a kid, the walking path around the edge of the garden was right up to that post.  All those trees to the right are growing in an area that used to be part of the garden.  Same with the apple trees in the opposite direction, near the spruce grove.  As big as the garden area still is, it is much smaller than it used to be.

I made my way through here, having to wind around broken branches and dead trees all over the place.  There don’t seem to be very many maples left in our maple grove. 😦  We’re going to have some major clean up to do in that area.


This is one of the furthest ends of the garden.  This gate is where we could drive into the garden itself.

As you can see, it is no barrier for the deer!  Their tracks look as if they can walk right through the gate, as if it’s not even there!  I know they’re jumping over, but it doesn’t look like it from the tracks alone.

Going through the maple grove was a bit of an eye opener.  We have got SO much work to do to clear that area out!  It’s a lower priority over working on the house itself, of course, but I hope we will be able to do at least some of it over the summer.

At times like this, I think my family and I really got the short end of the stick with this deal we made with my mother to live here for “free.”

Ah, well.  We came here expecting to have work to do, even if we didn’t expect quite this much.

The Re-Farmer

The Things We Find – outside

As I trudged through the snow around our yard, there were a number of times I found myself pausing and just wondering…


Why is this here?  How did it get here?  What purpose did this serve?

And I have no answers.

Like a post turtle.  You know it didn’t get there by itself, you don’t know who put it there and you know it doesn’t belong there.

Here are some of the things I found.


Take these wheels, for example.

These are in our spruce grove.

Not along the edge of it.  IN it.  I had to make my way past various things at our old wood pile spot and through some underbrush to get to it.

Look at those.

Meditate on them for a moment.

Someone took those wheels from… somewhere.  Then brought them to this tree.  Leaned them against the trunk.  Then left them there.

To rot.

Clearly, they have been there for many, many years.

Why?  Why are they there, and why has no one, in all these years, taken the time to just… throw them out.  Or something.


As I walked along the edge of the spruce grove, I found this, half hidden under the branches.

It appears to be a harrower.

Now, I know why there would be a harrower.  The garden is still big enough that my brother would come in with a tractor to plow it, then disc it, then harrow it.

But this is just a little piece of harrower.  There might be more hidden by the snow, but it’s still not of a size I am used to seeing around the farm, dragged by tractors.  In fact, there is a rope on it suggesting it might have been pulled manually.

Why is it hidden under the branches?  Why is it left here to rust away?

Someone had to deliberately drag it under the low hanging branches to leave it there.

To rust.


Here we have a cardboard box.

Stuffed into the trunks of a crab apple tree.

Okay, I can see someone having the box handy to pick apples.  Tuck it in there, so it doesn’t blow away.  Perhaps.

But why is it still there?


One last odd find.  The remains of an old wagon.

I don’t recall we ever had this type of wagon.  At least not in working order.

This is in a corner of the yard, near the fire pit and an old, collapsing log building.

Under tree branches.  I had to reach around the branches to get this photo.

Someone had to go out of their way to drag this there.

Okay, so judging from the condition of the remains, it may well have been dragged here before the trees were big enough to have branches hanging over it.

Which brings me back to…

Why?  Why put it there?  Why leave it there?

At least the brightly coloured thing in the background, I think I can figure out.  It’s a giant wooden spool used for electric wires.  You know, the kind or heavy wite that goes on the poles and to buildings.  A lot of local people get these to put on their ends and use as patio tables.  As this is next to the fire pit, I can picture it being brought to use as a table, then rolled under the tree to make way for cutting the lawn.

And left there.

To rot.

I suspect we will be finding many, many things like this as we work on the place that will leave us wondering…


The Re-Farmer

Sourdough Rye Bread

Recently, I was finally able to find a bag of rye flour.  Of all the things I knew would be harder to come by after moving here, rye flour was not one of them!

In anticipation of baking day, I got a rye sourdough starter going last night, using 2 cups rye flour, 2 cups warm water, and about 1/3 cup of our usual starter.

Allow me to introduce you to…

Overnight Rye Sourdough Starter

…The Rye of Sour-on.

My kids are hilarious.

Sourdough starter

Sir Sour Alot is looking good!

Because our original starter has aged so well, it can be shared or used as a base for “overnight starters”, which some recipes call for.

The girls didn’t bother looking up any rye bread recipes.  They just modified their usual Quick and Easy Sourdough recipe (minus the optional garlic and Parmesan with herbs).  With their usual double recipe, they used 2 cups of rye starter, substituted the sugar with molasses, and added 3 cups of rye flour before switching back to all purpose.

Rye sourdoug bread loaves

Rye sourdough bread

The result was a denser bread that didn’t rise as much during backing.  Which is good, because it means they slices will fit completely in the toaster, unlike our usual loaves, which sometimes need to be flipped. 😀

Slices of rye sourdough bread

Still warm from the oven!

Hearty and delicious!

I like the idea of using multiple kinds of flour when baking bread, but that requires having multiple kinds of flour on hand.  Which we really don’t have the space for, anyhow.  So we usually just use all purpose flour, since it gets used for so many other things as well.  I think I’ll make an exception for rye flour – which was only available in a small bag, anyhow.

It looks like we’ll be maintaining two sourdough starters now; Sir Sour Alot and the Rye of Sour-on.

The Re-Farmer