A Day for the Birds

With the fires in the area, it’s no surprise that we aren’t seeing any deer, at all.  It has, however, been a day full of birds outside our window.


Mr. Blue Jay allowed me to take his photograph today, though they certainly did make me work for a good shot!


In amongst the masses of bark eyed juncos, this bird went off into the flower garden and started digging like mad into the dried leaves.

I’ve had two strong suggestions as to what this bird is.  Either a fox sparrow, or a type of thrush.  I spent some time looking and comparing photos online to ones I’d taken myself.

Bird identification sites often have really unhelpful photos, I’ve come to notice.

Ultimately, it was the markings on the head that made the ID for me.  These are fox sparrows, of the “red” variety.

Speaking of red.


I had taken so many pictures of these red birds before the snow fell, but it never occurred to me to try and identify them.  I think I may have just lumped them in as another type of bird in my mind.  While looking up local bird species online, however, I found photos of these guys, and it turns out they are purple finches.  In the above photo, you see both the bright red males, and the less showy females.

As I was zooming in to get photos of what I though might have been the thrush/fox sparrow I wanted to identify, the bird turned and I realized I was looking at a new visitor!


This is a male white throated sparrow.  Love that distinctive patterning on the head.  It made it much easier to identify it, though it wasn’t any easier to find online.  My bird book doesn’t have it at all, though it does have several other types of sparrows.


Just look at the face!  😀


Looks like some females were in the crowd, too.

Weather willing, I will soon be raking near this area, to get some of the leaves out of the flower bed and clean up dead branches.  We are finally starting to see some green forcing its way through the dead leaves.  Not too much longer, and we’ll be able to start trying to identify the plants around here, as well as the birds! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Fire Status

First, thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and said prayers for us about the fire.  It is so much appreciated!

I have since learned that two homes were lost yesterday.  Sadly, one of them did not have insurance.  I hope to learn more soon, and see if there is someone organizing help for them.

Just another reminded, of house important it is to have insurance!  My mother has property insurance, though it is inadequate, so when we take that over at some point, we intend to improve it.  Plus, we have our own content insurance.  If anything every happened, we are covered.

One thing I found encouraging when we were preparing for the possibility of evacuating.  We now know that, if need be, we could probably be out of the house with our bug out bags and the cats in less than 10 minutes.  There just isn’t a lot that we would need to take with us.  It’s all just stuff.  As long as we have our IDs, medications, and some clothing, plus food for that cats, we’re good.  Everything else is replaceable.  About the only thing we’d add to the list, if we had time, is the computer towers and laptops.

I went into town with my husband for a medical appointment.  We got home shortly before noon.  I had to wait until after 2 to go and pick up a parcel in the mail, and my younger daughter came to get some driving practice.  We were thinking of going to town to play come Pokemon Go after, but when we got to the post office, there was smoke, everywhere.  The fire station parking was full of vehicles from the volunteer firefighters still, but the fire trucks were gone.  I asked at the post office and was informed that there is another fire to the North of us.

Of course, the winds are coming from the North, today. 😦

It’s further away and doesn’t seem to be a risk to where we are, but we decided not to go into town.  We did drive out to see the fire area before coming home, though.


Here, you can see how the roads themselves can act as fire breaks.  This is 1 mile north and about 1 1/2 miles south of our home.

You can’t really see it in the above photo, but there is smoke in the distance, still.


In this area, the fire mostly followed the road, but in some places, when further in.


Every now and then, we’d see an opening like this, and smoke in the distance.  The fire is out, but still smoldering in places.


One of the burned out homes.  I honestly couldn’t see where the house had been.


It’s a good thing this area is rather marshy, and there are still ponds around as well, with how dry this winter has been.


Still smoking in the distance.

The next videos were taken after the above photo, and while we were on our way back home.  Probably about 4 -5 miles from our home, as the crow flies.

Now, if only that predicted rain would actually show up!

The Re-Farmer

Fire in the area: Update.

Got a call from my brother next door, letting me know there is a fire in the area.  We couldn’t see it from our windows until I went out clear of the trees.  I then drove a mile south up the road to see better.


This is to the south west of us.  The winds are from the south east.  It seems to be a few miles away.  I called the fire department and did get a call back to confirm they are on site, however we’ve got bug out bags partially packed.  The gate is open and the van is by the door.  If we need to evacuate, we can be out in a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, we wait and watch out the windows.  I will be going out to see past the trees every now and then.

It’s supposed to rain soon.  Pray that it does!

The Re-Farmer


This fire has apparently been going on for much of the day.  It must have been the source of the smoke I was smelling earlier today.

One home has been lost.  The fire department has roads blocked and are monitoring, but there isn’t much else they can do.  Several farms in the area had done controlled burns in previous weeks, so there is only so far the fire can go before it runs out of fuel.  Fires, however, are so unpredictable!

It seems that someone had tried to do a burn on the side of the road, even in this wind.  There is an automatic fire ban if winds exceed 20kph, and we were well past that today.  From what I’m told, the fire kept jumping the roads and has already covered quite a distance.  My brother said he could still see it from a high perch at his place, whenever a spruce tree would go up.  Those pretty much explode, they go up so quickly.  He, however, was confident enough to go to bed.

I think I’m going to be a bit too wired for that for a while.


Oh, my goodness, what a windy day it is today!  As I sit at my computer, I can see the trees behind the other house in the yard, swaying back and forth.  This is the sort of weather that brings trees down!

I’m rather concerned about that.

Oh, I just heard a door banging.  Excuse me while I go check that…

Back.  I’ve just had to tie down one of our screen doors!

Our sun room has two pairs of doors.  It was tacked onto the Old Kitchen, which had its own inner door and screen door, plus there is another inner door and screen door to enter/exit the sun room from outside.  The screen part of the screen door has no glass, so the wind has been pushing the inner door open.  When I went to close them, I found the inner door of the Old Kitchen had also been blown open, held in place only by the security latch on the inside.

The doors and frames are in need of repair and/or replacement, and there was no way I could keep the inside door of the sun room from opening, so I blocked it with my dad’s walker for now.

In the process of moving it, I found a corded weed wacker!  Yay!  I hope it works.

The walker is at least keeping the door from swinging, but the outside screen door is also being blown open, so I just tied it to the arm bar in the door frame.

We’ve learned to appreciate all the arm bars installed around the house, just for the aid in mobility, but I never thought I’d appreciate them as something to secure a door closed!

We’ll have to find a better solution soon, though, since that exit is our only remaining fire escape, now that the front door at the dining room is stuck closed.

The wind had also blown the metal roof pieces off the dog house the cats have been using.  Turns out, they’re not fastened in any way; the pieces just got placed over the shingled roof underneath.


I did a walk around to see what else might be blowing in the wind, and discovered this.


The back door to the garage can only be fastened shut from the outside.  Which means, when my daughter went in to open the main garage door from the inside, after the handle broke off, she could only close the door, but not latch it.  So no surprise that it was being blown around, too.

It takes a bit more to blow open the outhouse door, though.

I don’t recall ever looking inside the outhouse, since moving here.  I did not expect it to be so colorful!

Also, it has a mirror.


Why is there a medicine cabinet in the outhouse?

There’s also a fluorescent light fixture stored on one side of the door, and some shelf boards on the other.

As far as I know, the last time anyone’s been in here was back in late November, when the guy who tried to find an internet signal somewhere in our yard had to use it, because  we only have one bathroom, and my daughter had just got in the shower.

That poor man.

I’m fascinated by the effort taken to decorate the inside of the outhouse like that.

The stacks of books reminds me of back in the days before we had indoor plumbing, and we used old catalogs as toilet paper.  I don’t think we ever bought toilet paper until we got an indoor bathroom.

While closing up the door, I could hear the sound of another door banging, so I checked the front of the garage.


It’s even more surprising to see this door open, because of these…


It takes a fair bit for this type of latch to come undone.

Since I was there anyhow, I took a look at the main garage door, thinking I might be able to install the new handle.

It looks like we won’t be able to use it.

The mechanism works by pulling on cables on the inside that unlatches the door at the sides.  The cable runs through a hole in a squared post that the handle is attached to.  Turn the handle, turn the post, which pulls the cables.

The new handle’s post doesn’t have a hole the cable can run through.  It’s obviously designed for a different mechanism.  Which would be fine if we could just remove the squared post on the new handle and use the old one, but it’s all one piece.

Looks like we might have to make a trip to the city to find the right kind of handle.

As I checked around the yard, I noticed something else that’s concerning.  The smell of smoke.  This time of year, it’s common for people to do controlled burns.  The municipality, for example, might burn the dead foliage along the sides of ditches, or farmers might burn last year’s stubble.  We’ve seen some areas along the sides of roads that had been done earlier in the month.  Right now, however, it’s so dry that there are a lot of burn bans.  Coupled with the wind, it’s unlikely that someone would be doing a burn.  Which means, if there is a fire somewhere, it’s not a controlled burn.

There is no visible smoke, at least.  In these high winds, if there was visible smoke, it would mean there’s a really large fire somewhere.  According to the weather app, the winds are south winds at 57kmh (35.4mph), with gusts up to 74 (50mph).

I think I’ll go check the government fire maps right now, and see if anything’s been reported that we need to be concerned about!

The Re-Farmer

Blue for You

Alas, no pictures of deer today.  I did see one cautiously making its way towards the house, just a few minutes ago, but it saw me move in the window and dashed right off.


I did, however, manage to get a photo of a blue jay today.  For the past few weeks, even if I’ve been at the window, watching them for a while, the moment I get behind the camera, they all fly off!


This morning, I managed to get just one decent picture, through the sun reflected on the window.

I love how they collect so many seeds in their beaks like that, before flying off.

It was a fairly quite day today.  We’re still in recovery mode and pretty low on energy.  My younger daughter and I made a run to the dump with our garbage and recycling, before heading to town to find a new handle for our garage door.  In the process, I remembered to pick up some chain and a carabiner to replace the heavy duty wire that’s been used to hold our main gate steady.  It has a sliding bar across the top to close it.  I’m not sure why it also needed the wire to hold it closed, and one of these days, I’ll remember to ask a sibling about it. 😀  The chain and carabiner will be much easier to handle than twisting and untwisting the wire every time.  It’ll look better, too!  Plus, we’ll have the ability to add a lock as well, if we ever need to.  Sadly, there have always been people who seek out solitary farms as targets for theft and vandalism.  At best, the RCMP are at least half an hour away, and that assumes they can even find any individual farm.  My oldest brother and I are already talking about adding a security camera on the garage, which would catch anyone coming in or out of the driveway, and another on the house itself.

Such is life, even in the sticks!

My daughter and I went to two different hardware stores, looking for a garage door handle.  Both stores had only one option available!  They were even the same brand and style.  On the plus side, the second place we went to had a much, much better price.

On the down side, while driving to town, I went into a coughing fit so bad, I had to pull over and get her to drive the rest of the way.

It’s so nice having another driver available!

This cold has really done a number on my chronic cough.  😦

We had some other things happen that were polar opposites.  Such as my husband’s disability payment coming in early (they do that every now and then!) on the plus side, then getting a call from the tax preparer and finding out he’s now owing $3000 instead of the $1300 that came up when we tried using Turbotax at home.  I don’t understand how he can owe anything.  He’s supposed to be paid back taxes, retroactively, from two years ago!  And here we thought getting our taxes professionally done would mean it would be better, not worse.  On top of that, it’s going to cost us almost $70 in fees.


This has happened every time we’ve moved back to this province, no matter how late in the year we’ve returned.  We would be expecting a return, only to end up owing thousands.  This time, though, I am sure that has to be some kind of mistake.

Living here was supposed to save us money.  Instead, it’s been unexpected expenses, one right after the other!

Ah, well.  We’ll figure it out in good time.

The Re-Farmer



That Circle of Life thing… and I hate shopping

For the past while, we’ve had a huge drop in deer visits.  I didn’t see any yesterday, until quite late, when one showed up, then ran off when it saw me in the window.  Pretty sure it was a new one, since our regulars are no longer bothered by seeing us.

We are certainly getting plenty of birds, though, including this new one that I’ve been trying to identify.


There were two or three of them among the dark eyed juncos and the male redpolls that were also in the feeding station.  Looking through my bird book, its body looks similar to a Brown Thrasher, but the eye and beak are totally different.  Another closer match is the Fox Sparrow, but according to the book, we’re not really in their territory.  They might be passing through during migration, if that’s what they are.

If anyone reading this knows what they are, please let me know in the comments!  Thanks. 🙂

As I was taking pictures of the new birds, there was a sudden whoosh of movement and all the birds flew off.

Well, almost all.


What a beautiful hawk!  I barely managed to tilt the tripod over to snap a few quick pictures before it flew off, with its meal, into the trees.  Much to my surprise, the pictures all turned out, but only a couple caught the hawk’s face as it looked over before flying off.

This is one of the things we have to consider, if we do get chickens.

Later on, I went to tell my older daughter, who was upstairs, about the hawk.  She hadn’t seen the hawk, but she did see the fallout, as panicked birds suddenly flew up, including one that smacked right into the window near her.

She went out onto the roof and moved it, so it could fly off when it regained consciousness.

Except, it didn’t.  It hit the window hard enough to kill itself.  It looked like one of the new birds, too. 😦


This all happened in the mid morning or so.  Shortly before noon, my younger daughter and I headed out to the city – our first trip to the city since all that work was done on the van – for a much needed Costco trip.

Just to jump ahead a bit, the van ran beautifully.  Also, I didn’t get a call back from the garage about those parts they’d ordered for me.  I’m not sure how I would have handled such a call, now that the work they wanted to do turns out to not be needed at all.  Aside from not bringing the van in, of course.

I had hoped, even though it’s a Friday, going to Costco in the early afternoon would mean missing out on the crowds.

Maybe we did, but it was still insanely busy.

We didn’t go to the closer one, which is smaller, has a ridiculously horrible parking situation, and where the pharmacy staff were such a problem.  Instead, we went to one that was not only larger, but also near a whole lot of other shopping.

Along with our usual bulk grocery shopping, I had one goal in mind.  To get more undies for my husband.  We’re in the city.  That shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Well, it turns out that Costco didn’t carry any in his size.  They do in clothing, just not in underwear.  Which makes no sense.

So after we finished at Costco, with all its joyous moments (seriously; what is it about people who saunter to a stop, blocking the entire isle, and just stand there, staring into space?  This happened several times, all different people!), we figured we’d just go to that mall up the block.  They had a Marshals there.  Marshals has clothes, right?

We’ve never actually been to a Marshals before.

It turned out to be kinda like a crappy Winners.  We found the teeny, tiny men’s underwear section, half of which was shirts, and it was such a disaster, I could barely find anything at all, never mind the size and style I wanted.  There was only one brand, too – an expensive one, of course.

But we’re in a mall, right?  There’s lots of other stores we can try, right?

I found a map and… it wasn’t very encouraging.  Still, there were several possibilities among the athletic stores.

We went to about 4 or 5 different shops.  Any that did have men’s underwear had hardly anything at all, none in the style I was looking for, and certainly not the size.

What the heck?

As we were leaving the mall, my daughter pointed out that there was a Winners across the road.  So that’s where we tried next.

It was better than the Marshals, at least.  The shelves were better organized, but again, there was only one tiny display for the men’s section, and nothing in the size we were after.

I checked on my phone and found the nearest Walmart.  I figured that would be our last stop.  Even if we didn’t find the style I was after, if I could only find the size, that would be great.

Walmart, at least, has a nice, big section for men’s underclothes – but still a tiny clothing section.

Men, you guys are really short changed in the clothing department!  Sheesh!

We found several brands in the style we wanted.  Yay, right?


There was a lot out of stock, so my daughter and I kept hunting for the right size, somewhere.  After a while, I stopped looking at what was there and started looking at the labels in front of the hooks.

It turned out they weren’t just out of stock.  They didn’t even CARRY the size we needed.  In any brand, or any style!

What the heck???  He wears a common size.  Why don’t they have it?

This was supposed to be our last stop, but we had noticed further down the parking lot, a Marks.

One more try…

Sure enough, we actually found both the style and size we were after!!!  Finally!  So I bought as many packages as I could afford without messing up our budget.

When we got to the counter, me looking a little wild eyed by now, the cashier asked us if we’d found everything we were looking for.

I told her that yes, we did, and that they were the ONLY ones to have what we were looking for.  She looked completely surprised.  Not even Walmart, she asked?  Nope.  Nothing in this size.  That is so strange, she tells me.

It’s their most popular size.

Which doesn’t surprise me in the least.  So why don’t other places even HAVE the size at all?

Who know buying underwear would be so difficult?

By the time that was done, we were both exhausted and more than ready to go home.

I really, really dislike shopping.

After we got home and unloaded, it occurred to me that none of us had the energy to cook supper.  My older daughter is sick, my younger daughter is also getting sick, and just unloading the van was more than enough to remind me that I’m certainly not yet recovered from this stupid cold.

Since my daughter can now legally drive, I asked if she was up to a trip into town, so we could get some take-out.  Thankfully, she was.  So off we went to the van and…


When she tried to open the garage door, the handle came off.

Talking to my oldest brother not long ago, I mentioned this.  He told me that thing has needed replacing for probably 15 years.  It just never got done.  It was on our list of things to fix sooner rather than later.  Well, it just got bumped up higher on the list.  😀

My daughter had to go into the garage from the back door (which is used so rarely, it has self-seeded trees growing in front of it) and open it from the inside.  The bar that runs through the hole to the handle is still there, and I couldn’t find any pieces that fell off onto the ground, so I’m actually not sure why the handle hadn’t fallen off sooner! 😀

I was just informed that we had deer outside our living room window again.  A group of four.  It’s almost completely dark at the moment, but still enough light for us to see them.  And for them to see us.  And hear us.  Even the creaking of the floor had their ears going in all directions, and they could hear my daughter cough!  As I was at the window, one was watching me until I shifted slightly, and off it ran, startling the others away.

So we will stay away from the window for a while, in hopes they come back.

Looks like we’ll be going into town again tomorrow, even if it’s just to pick up a new handle for the garage door! 😀

The Re-Farmer

One more thing, off the list

This morning, I took my younger daughter for her knowledge test to transfer her driver’s license to this province.


Butterscotch, in command of the deer feeding station.

To recap: she did not have a full license; just the learner’s license.  She never had a chance to take her road test.  When she tried to transfer her license, once they saw it was a learners, she was told she had to take the written test to get a new license for this province.  Then, because we are past the 90 day grace period, they kept her license, because she cannot legally drive in this province with it.

After doing the online practice tests, my daughter was quite worried about this.  So many of the questions were unrelated to the rules of the road, or phrased so badly and without context, it was difficult to understand what was actually being asked.

We ended up leaving more than an hour early – and she was still worried about being late!  Ah, a daughter after my own heart. 😀  On the way, we stopped in the town my mother lives in to fill the gas tank.  This is the gas station we’d stopped at when we were bleeding coolant, and one of our regular gas jockeys had crawled under and found the broken pipe.  Well, he was there this morning.  When he saw us, he came over and asked how things went, so I entertained him with the story.  Turns out he was all worried about us, and was so happy to find out everything turned out okay!


One, lone dark eyed junco, just chillin’

I really like this gas station.  They have such great people working there.    Plus, they have this section of home baked goodies that no one else has, because they’re baked by one of the gas jockeys! 😀  It’s become a bit of a ritual, that when we stop there for gas, I pick up some cookies (they are sold in twos) or a piece of Nanaimo bar as a special treat.

The city we went to is roughly an hour’s drive, and we’d left so early that, even with the stop for gas, we were an hour early.  Which worked out, because neither of us had had breakfast, plus it gave us the chance to find the place, first.  Which turned out to be incredibly easy to find.  We were told to arrive about 15 minutes early, so that’s what we did.

When my daughter got called up, she had all her paperwork from the broker that started her file for her, ready to go.  The lady helping her just had to look up the file and continue the process.  She was really great about explaining the exam process, and how my daughter needed to get a minimum of 24 out of 30 questions correct, and so on.  Then she took my daughter to the testing computer.  The questions turned out to be MUCH more realistic than in the online practice tests.  They actually made sense, and were about the rules of the road.

She did 24 questions, then the test shut down, because she’d got them all correct.  So she got 100% on her knowledge test.  Awesome!

Then she had to do the eye test, were we discovered that she does NOT need her glasses to drive.  She will use them, because she prefers to (she gets headaches from eye strain if she doesn’t), but there will be no restriction on her license.  Cool!


The Mothman makes an appearance!

When the final processing for her license was started, we hit a problem.

The system was asking for her to turn over her current license.

Which had already been taken.

It turns out, they shouldn’t have done that.  While my daughter could not legally drive here with it, it was still a valid license.  She could still use it in our previous province, plus it was her valid photo ID, until 2022.

Not only that, but when her license was scanned, they only scanned one side.  So even though the person helping us could find the scanned image on file, she had only the front information, not the back.

Now, the only reason this was an issue was a matter of credit for time driving.  If they could use her current license, she could go for her road test at any time, because she’s been driving on her learner’s license for more than 5 years.  If, however, they couldn’t use it, she would not be able to take her road test for at least 9 months.

The woman helping us called the broker where we’d started the process, to find out if they still had the license, but the person who started the file wasn’t available.  After some discussion, they figured it got sent away already to the department all returned licenses go to.  So she phoned there.

The license had arrived there, just yesterday!

Which meant they could scan both sides of the old license for the file.  The woman helping us, meanwhile, used a copy of the scanned front of the license already on file, just to be extra sure – and my daughter got a copy for her own files, too, just as I did with mine.

Because of when her birthday is, though, when she gets her plastic copy, it’ll only be valid until the end of August.  Which meant it cost less to process her license, since they only charged for the shorter time.


As we were doing this, I told the woman helping us that I had some ID related questions for after it was all done.  I had shared some of the issues I’d had with getting my license during conversation.  When my daughter got her temporary license, I told the woman helping us about my husband’s attempt to get his license.

As soon as I said that his ID didn’t match his birth certificate, she knew exactly what was coming; he was told to get a legal name change.


I brought up how this didn’t make any sense.  He’s already using his legal name.  It’s on his birth certificate.  Everything he’s got – save his old license in this province, for some reason – has the name he uses.  Even the Department of National Defense and the Government of Canada is good with the name he uses.

As we were talking, a guy came over and asked if he could join in, and he was able to give us more information.  What it comes down to is, it’s up to the Identity Unit.  Whatever they say, everyone else’s hands are tied, and they are basically the overseers of identity in this province.  We talked about the issues of identity theft and security, which I totally get, but it still doesn’t make sense to demand that my husband change his legal name to… his legal name.

At one point, he asked why my husband wasn’t interesting in doing the legal name change, and my response was basically, why should he have to go through all that process, when he’s already using his legal name.  In the conversation, I used as an example how it’s not like my sister, whose legal name is one thing, but the name she uses is completely different.  It’s not entirely even an English version of her birth name, since there really isn’t any English equivalent.  This is his legal name that is on his birth certificate.  Every other place has been fine with using his second name.  He has always used this name.  Sure, they can understandably change things now, but why should he essentially be retroactively held to these requirements?  It’s still his legal name.

Well, it turns out this guy completely understood not wanting to go the legal name change route.  He’s newly married, and his wife is in the process of legally changing to her married name.  The whole thing costs about $200, there are many hoops to jump, and one of those hoops is to go to the RCMP and get fingerprinted.

With the amount of pain my husband is in, that kind of running around is asking way too much.

In the end, he suggested we try calling the Ombudsman, explaining the situation, and asking for an exemption.  We even got the name and phone number.

I really, really hope this works out, because this whole thing is completely ridiculous.

They were both extremely helpful and awesome, and I’m so glad I asked them about it.

Before we left, we paused to use the bathroom before I left.  When I came out and my daughter took her turn, the woman that had been helping us asked, was my sister in law’s last name XXX?  Why yes, it is, except she’s my sister, not my sister in law.

When I had used my sister’s names as an example, and she started talking about the names issue with a co-worker, it occurred to her that she knew someone by that name – and it’s a very uncommon name.  So she figured she’s ask me when I came out of the washroom.  It turns out that, not only does she know my sister, but they are cousins, by marriage!

That was so funny!  I ended up staying and chatting with her for a while, with my daughter joining us as I told her about our move back to the farm and all the “fun” it’s been, dealing with my parents’ things, the state of the house, and all the interesting things we’ve been discovering.  That led us to talking about how, especially in our parents’ generation, there was such an insistence of doing everything themselves, instead of paying someone else to do it, even when in the long term, it would be cheaper to pay someone else to do it!  Or to buy new instead of second hand, etc.  She knew first hand what it was like! 😀

It wasn’t until we were walking to the van and my daughter asked about it that I realized she’s missed the part about how this woman was related to her aunt.  Ah, what a small world it is!


Trüllbus the Crime Eater, coming through!

After we finished there, my daughter and I headed to the nearby Walmart.  Our monthly shopping plans have had to change, with my husband’s newest medical appointment, so we did most of our non-Costco monthly shopping today.  Normally, we’d wait until the last business day of the month, when his disability payment comes in, but today is when the much smaller CPP Disability comes in.  It’s enough to do the monthly grocery shopping, at least.  Plus, I really wanted to finally pick up some new underwear for him, what with either not being able to find his size in the style he wanted, or only being able to find them at $15 for a single pair, with only one lower end brand available.

Amazingly, not even the Walmart had his style in his size.  There were 4 or 5 different brands, and NONE of them had it.  In fact, they only seemed to have them in two sizes; small and medium.  What the heck?  Is there some sort of embargo on briefs going on I don’t know about?  I finally got a package of 4 in the closest to the style he wanted I could find (at least the price was good!), but I can’t believe I still couldn’t even find what he wanted at a WALMART, in a city!  Yeah, it’s a small city, but still…  Sheesh!

Since we were there anyways, we paused to look at some of the summer stuff that’s out now.  It occurred to me that I have yet to see a garden hose anywhere around here.  I still want to check the garden shed, but there is no way my dad didn’t have garden hoses!  If they’re not in the garden shed, then they found some legs and walked away.  Along with too many other things around here. 😦

We’re also interested in getting a weed whacker – preferably an electric one – so we priced those out, too.  Pretty reasonable.  We are also looking to get a battery operated chain saw, though not at Walmart.  We’ve got at least 4 chain saws in the garage and, as far as I know, none of them work.  One could probably be considered an antique!  I have no interest in hauling around jerry cans of fuel anymore, and the modern electric tools are just as powerful as the ones that run on fuel.

So we got the small grocery shopping done, including stocking up on distilled water for my husband’s CPAP.  That done, we had one more stop to make; back to the town closest to home to pick up some prescription refills.  As my older daughter has caught my cold (I’m still coughing myself, but at least I’m feeling better) and was feeling really awful today, we also made sure to pick up some “medication” for her.  At the liquor store, in the form of a nice, spiced whiskey.  😀  We rarely drink, so when we do, it’s at least a decent quality! 😀

Hopefully, we’ll all be healthy again soon, and can start manhandling the last of my parents’ stuff we need to move to the shed.  The snow is gone and the ground it dry.  It’s just that 2 out of 3 of us are too sick to do the physical labour. 😦

While in town, we took the time to play a bit of Pokemon Go, and at one point we were parked next to an arts and crafts store, which is also part of a used book store.  I haven’t been there since we last lived in this province, so we decided to take a look.

I don’t know why they advertise as an arts and crafts store.  They had basically nothing.

But we did come out with a whole pile of Brother Cadfael books. 😀

After all the running around, we were so glad to finally get home.  Now that my daughter has her license, that’s one more thing to strike off the list!  Next up is for my older daughter to get her ID transferred.

Little by little, it’s getting done.

The Re-Farmer

Walkabout – the East yard

I had done a walkabout yesterday, through our East yard, some of the areas just outside the fenced yard, and explored around the old gravel pit and pond.  I had my phone with me and took plenty of pictures, but then had technical difficulties uploading them to my desktop.  My husband was able to see them fine on his laptop via the USB cable, so the problem had to be with my desktop.  This morning, I tried one thing.  Usually, I have my USB cable attached to one of the front ports of the tower, but my husband had moved it to one of the back ports, so he could access the front ones for something he was doing.  Could that have made the difference?

Turns out, yeah.  That seems to have been the problem.  I was able to upload the pictures without getting the weird error messages I was getting before.

Unfortunately, in my attempts to access and transfer the photos yesterday, some were lost, while others were corrupted or damaged.

So today, I did the walkabout again, this time using the DSLR (Nikon D80) and an 18-55mm lens.

I ended up taking 308 pictures! 😀  And I didn’t even go into the other house in the yard, this time!

Basically, I am documenting the way things are right now, that we will have to deal with as time goes by.  Anything outside the house and immediate yard are lower on the priority list, but they will still need to be dealt with, eventually, so I want to maintain a photographic record of it all.

For now, I will just talk about the East side of our yard – and not even all of that.


When I first came out, Nasty Crime Boy was there to greet me, but he did NOT like the noise the DSLR made when I took pictures! 😀

The first area I went to was around the other house in the yard.  This house used to be a church rectory, and my dad bought it and moved it when they wanted to build a new one.  It was put into our yard temporarily.  The plan was that it would be moved to one of the other quarter sections of the farm and be a home for whichever of the boys inherited it that section.

That never happened.

I’ll post about the house itself, another time.

This is next to it.


When my parents’ freezer died, they gave one of my siblings the money to buy a new one, which we are currently using.  The old one, for some reason, got dumped in the yard.  They took the door off, so nothing could get trapped in it, but that’s it.

I hadn’t realized that even the baskets were in there until I came over to take pictures.

I could do posts of nothing but large household appliances, abandoned in strange places, and have no shortage of material.  Especially washers and driers.  It’s amazing.

Then I went around the back of the building.


That largish black pipe you see?  It’s placed through a hole in a partially boarded up window.  That means it was deliberately placed there.  I find myself wondering if there is something under the house that is being propped up.

This house had had a full basement in it.  Now, the areas with the bricks are what used to be the top of the basement walls, and there is basically a crawl space underneath.

Then there’s this.


A toilet.  Just sitting there.

Another rain barrel.  I don’t know what the 6 sided plastic thing is.  A wire shelf.

Just.  There.



This is some sort of mini garden, near the fire pit.  I can see no rhyme or reason to it being there, and can’t figure out what’s in it – that will have to wait until things start to grow.  It needs to go.  Seeing what’s there will help me decide whether it’ll just be torn up, or if there’s anything in it worth transplanting.


The above picture is of what is directly North of the mystery planting.  There used to be a playhouse here, built by my oldest brother.  It was basically a shell of a building, with a door and windows in the front.  I was too young to remember it being built, but as a child, I helped my late brother, who was just a few years older than me, frame out bunk beds inside it, and we used old couch cushions as the mattresses.  In the summer, I would sometimes sleep in there, with a tiny kerosene lamp for light.  It was glorious.

I don’t know what happened to the playhouse.  For a while, one of my brothers had some bee hives here.  Now, there’s nothing.  I am thinking this is where we will start a wood pile from what we’re clearing out of the garden now, and what we’ll be clearing out of the trees around the yard.  I am looking forward to when we can have the fire pit going in the summer, and have some wiener roasts!

This is the fire pit that’s there now.



Believe it or not, there is a metal ring in there.

It’s not where the fire pit was originally.  That was about where I was standing to take the picture.  It was made of loosely stacked bricks, on top of an old tree stump that had been cut to ground level.  I only discovered the tree stump when I took it upon myself to “rebuild” the fire pit, because the walls were being knocked out of place.

One thing I noticed that you can see in some of the photos, is that this area now seems to be mostly moss!  As I was the one who took on the chore of lawn mowing, I know there was no moss at all in there when I was living here.  I don’t know when the moss started taking over, but this is not a sign of a healthy lawn!

I am thinking we should move the fire pit back to where it was, and farther away from those trees in the background.

We will first have to trim away the a dead branch overhanging it, from one of the maples in the area.  There are a lot of dead branches that will need to be dealt with.

Eventually, I want to build a cinder block cooking pit in the area, but that’s a few years into the future.


This old log cabin is near the fire pit area.  (note the amount moss in the foreground!  That used to be all grass) From what I’ve been told, the family that owned this area before my family bought it – the ones who built the original log portion of the house we’re living in now – had built this and lived in it.

I am hoping we can salvage it.  The one side wall has logs that are sagging in the middle, which may be a problem, but the rest of the walls seem sound.  The roof is almost completely collapsed, and it’s filled with junk – including large household appliances, of course.  At some point, I want to hire someone to empty it, including the remains of the roof, and haul it all away.  Then we can see what can be done with the remains.

There is one thing about it that has me wondering.


See that tree at the corner?

When I was growing up here, there was a gooseberry bush growing there.  I used to love picking and eating the berries right off the bush.  I don’t know that anything else was ever done with the berries.  Which might have something to do with why, years after I moved away, I came back to discover it was gone. In its place were a couple of spruce trees.

Now, the spruces are gone, and there is this tree.

I don’t know if it was planted, or if it seeded itself, but it’s going to have to go, along with the other trees that are growing too close to the building.

I am seeing this all over the place; trees were allowed to grow right next to buildings.  No one bothered to cut them away.  Did no one consider how much damage they can do to buildings?  Did they not think of it?  Or did they just not care?

So much of what I’m finding around here smacks of “no one cared.”  I’m not talking about things that were left as they were, as my parents aged and weren’t able to take care of things themselves, either.  It’s really quite disheartening.

Well, that’s part of our East yard.  I’m expecting that, this year, we’ll be able to do some clean up and improvements in this area.  At least the smaller stuff.  The big stuff will have to wait, as they will require hiring people, and fixing up the main house is the financial priority.  Still, we should be able to get the East yard to the point that we can use it and enjoy evenings around the fire.

Well.  Maybe.  That will depend on how bad the mosquitoes are this year!

The Re-Farmer

Deer family, and what the heck?

Today has a mixed bag of things to share, some of which will be in other posts – if I can get the pictures off of my phone properly.  Something is going wrong there, and it looks like I’ve lost a whole bunch of pictures in the process.  Ugh.

My husband had a medical appointment this morning.  It was to be a 2 hour interview to assess him and figure out what specialists he will be going to next.  Not something for me to be at, so I took advantage of being in town to go to the places I can park and play Pokemon Go.  I headed back early, which worked out, as my husband could only handle an hour before he had to cut it short, due to pain.  So he’ll be back in a week to finish the assessment.

For the past couple of days, I hadn’t gotten many photos at all.  No deer were showing up, except briefly in the wee hours, and even the juncos weren’t around much today.  I did get a good photo of a daytime moon, though.  This photo is just cropped; no resizing.


I’m pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail that showed up!

My younger daughter found the online practice tests for the knowledge test she needs to take on Thursday to get her learners license in this province.  THAT turned out to be… something special.

The first two practice tests were for signs.  Some were different from what she saw when she took the test in our previous province, but she could figure them out.

The rules of the road test should have been similar.  After all, the rules of the road are largely the same across the country, right?

Well, that wasn’t the issue.

The test itself is bizarre.  After being told about it, she and I went online on my computer, so she could show me what she was talking about.

Many of the questions don’t even make sense.  The phrasing and terms are also different.  For example, one mentioned the legal requirement for an upper stop light, except for vehicles before what year?

Stop light?

They meant brake lights.  NO ONE calls them stop lights.  Stop lights are what you see at controlled intersections.

Another question: Wearing a seatbelt decreases your chance of being killed by …?  And then there are several percentages to choose from.

What rule is in this question?  The rule is, we are required to wear seatbelts.  Why include what is, essentially, a trivia question in a rules test?

Then there’s this one: A driver supervising another driver in the Learner stage must not have a blood alcohol concentration of greater than…?

Now, I would have expected the answer to be 0.  The supervising driver shouldn’t have any alcohol in their system.  But no!  The answer is .05   Considering that .08 is too drunk to drive, this means, a person with a beginners license can drive with a tipsy supervising driver.

That’s not very encouraging!

Other questions leave us wondering, what is the context?  Where is the detail?  Because it makes a difference.  Like; what direction are you driving in this scenario?  And which center line do they mean? Other questions, I kept having to read and re-read the possible answers, just to figure out what they were saying.

And when did the hand positions on the steering wheel change from 10 & 2, to 9 & 3?  Also, since when was it legal to change more than one lane at a time?

It’s the lack of context in the questions, and the many questions that have nothing to do with the actual rules of the road that are the most frustrating.  Why are they even there?

So that was fun… :-O

This evening, while the light was still good, I took advantage of how dry things are now and walked further afield on the property.  I checked out what used to be a gravel pit, but is now a pond; the gravel is all completely grown over.  I found numerous things that had me wondering, why anyone went through so much effort to put them there, rather than just taking them to the dump?  Some of the old equipment I found brought back fond memories.  I checked out some sheds and the barn.  Two sheds, I couldn’t even get at.  I fought the burs, and the burs won.  Laundry is now in progress. 😀

One log shed that I hoped might be salvageable, most definitely isn’t.  A couple others still might be.  Some other, more modern, sheds are just not worth fixing.

Then there were the piles and piles of … well.  Trash.  These are things some of my siblings had intended to burn, but they are filled with things that really should NOT be burned at all.  We’re just going to have to hire a clean up crew to haul the stuff away.  Someone with the right safety gear and equipment to handle the stuff.

I’m hoping, after I post this, I’ll be able to salvage some of the photos I took.

Then, the deer came!

A group of four.  Two adult females, and two you males.


I’m pretty sure I worked out which pair belonged to each other.


Here’s one of the mums and her boy.  Check out the little antler nubbins! 😀


This mama looks kind of young, too.  Unlike the other mama…


… who looks like she’s seen a lot of rough years!  Note the mark in her fur that runs up her snout?  There’s a matching one, on the other side of her face.  Like something had rubbed the fur off.

No where near as dramatic as her boy’s face!  It took quite a few photos before I found one where you could really see it.


The fur is just gone in those two spots!

You can’t see them in this photo, but he’s got antler nubbins that are about the same size as the other male.

The four of them stayed for quite a while.  Eventually, they made their way to the south yard, through the gate, and disappeared behind the barn.

It was so awesome to see them!  I hope they come back.

The Re-Farmer


Earlier today, while in my office, I heard a loud bang on a window somewhere.  Going to check, the girls, who were in the kitchen, were also wondering what the noise was.  We’ve had many birds hitting our windows lately, and that seemed likely, but never this loud!

So I went outside to check.  Sure enough, I found a stunned bird on the ground, outside the dining room window.


When I first picked it up, it was panting and groggy.


After a while, it was doing better, but still stayed in my hand.  Happily, it did not seem to be injured.

I waited a while, then put it near a tree branch, but it still stayed in my hand.

So I sat on the steps at our front door (which, I’ve discovered, we cannot open.  The inside door opens, but the outside screen door is stuck, as if painted shut.  My brother had removed it to fix it, and it had been working fine in the fall!) and waited.


As I sat, Rolando Moon came by, curious, but not curious enough to climb the steps.  Instead, she moved to the corner of the house and settled in.

Eventually, the bird flew into one of the bushes.


It still stayed for a while before moving to another branch, then continued to hang out for a while before finally leaving.

As I was still sitting with it, however, I saw out of the corner of my eye, Rolando Moon suddenly spin around, pounce on something, then run off with something in its mouth.

After the bird went into the tree, I went around the house to see, thinking Rolando Moon had maybe caught a rodent.

I was wrong.  It was another bird.

I now wonder if there had been a second stunned bird that I did not notice before, because of how close it was to the house.

Now I’m torn between happy that we saved the one bird, but sad that we lots another at the same time.

I had taken a bunch of short videos and have put them together in a playlist.

I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

The Re-Farmer