A Productive Day

Today turned out to be a nice and productive day, despite the rain this morning.

After driving my younger daughter to work, my older daughter and I went to the city to do the rest of our monthly shopping.  An unplanned stop at Walmart, where I got some canning supplies I hope to use to preserve chokecherries, though I have yet to decide what I will be doing with them; a quick trip to Costco – or at least as quick as any trip to Costco can be! – and then to the grocery store we discovered after our last trip.  We had lunch before we started that last bit of shopping, going through their kitchen area, for some Chinese food.  To be completely honest, it was hardly the best Chinese food we’d ever had, but it’s been so long, it was absolutely amazing!  Talk about hitting the spot!

Of all the things to miss about city living.  The dizzying variety of ethnic fast food! 😀

We took advantage of the incredible international sections of the store to get a few things we normally wouldn’t – including a couple of ingredients for something I want to try that I will save for its own post.  We haven’t been doing a lot of cooking in the heat we’ve been having, and pretty much no baking at all.  Our sourdough starters, sadly, did not survive.  The Rye of SourOn was the first to go, and even though my daughters were using Sir Sour Alot almost every morning to make hotcakes, in double batches, it basically went black over one hot and muggy night.

When things start to cool down later in the year, and we’re not doing so much yard work, we’ll get another Alaskan sourdough going and start baking again.  Until then, we stock up on bread at Costco and freeze most of it.  We’ve been going through bread rather quickly, since no one wants to cook in the heat, so we’ve been having lots of sandwiches! 😀

For now, the less time in the kitchen, the better, which means our grocery shopping trips are filled with more things that can be eaten cold, or with minimal cooking.

We finished early enough that we went straight home to unload before heading back into town to pick up my daughter from work.  We were able to make a stop at the beach in the process.

It was much windier at the lake, and the water was so choppy!

Some people even braved the waves!

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I’m not sure I would have been willing to do that, but then, I’m not a very strong swimmer.

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The water gets so murky when it’s like this!  Not that it’s ever clear, given how shallow it is, but on days like this, it’s pretty opaque!

The weather had cleared up around our area by then, so after we got home, I went straight to mowing the outer yard.  I’m still mowing a drive-able path to the second gate.  We have yet to fix the barbed wire gate.  I’ve decided not to make another barbed wire gate, and will instead pick up some fencing wire to use instead.

Now that we have power to the barn, and my brother fixed the melted plug end of the line to the storage shed, I should make a point of going around the areas I mow with the weed trimmer.  Though I will not be focusing on the outer yard for clean up, other than what’s essential, I also don’t want to give things a chance to get overgrown where we need to access them.  Tall grass is one thing.  Nettles, burdock, thistles and self-sown trees are something else entirely!

After I finished with the mowing and was coming back to the house, I noticed Butterscotch’s kittens were out.  I got some cat kibble for the kittens and refilled the water bowl by where Beep Beep has her babies.  Beep Beep’s kittens were out, too, but only the tuxedo stayed out while I was around, and did not like me being there.  So I went back to Butterscotch and her babies as they ate.  I actually got to pet the teeny tabby!  That itty bitty kitty is turning out to be the braver of the lot.  Unfortunately, none of my attempts to get photos turned out.  Ah, well.

The fridge and cupboards are stocked up, the freezer is full, the outer lawn is mowed, and I got to pet a kitten.

All in all, it’s been a good day. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Kitty videos

Got a bunch of short kitten videos for you to enjoy!

The first three were taken today.

Butterscotch and her kittens – with a cameo from Rolando Moon.

Beep Beep does love climbing trees!  None of the others quite match her – though one of her babies is trying!

Trying to convince a kitten that the big, scary human is really okay.  A few times, it would stretch out, snuffle my fingertip, then hiss at it! 😀

This next video was taken a few days ago.

Those bright, bright eyes! 😀

The Re-Farmer

 

 

Two sets of kitties!

While doing my evening walk around the yard, I ended up spending almost an hour, near the kittens.  I had brought out some cat food, and refilled the old pot that I am using for water near the garden shed, then just hung out.

So did the mosquitoes.

It was worth it.

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Butterscotch’s kittens love an exposed root, sitting on it or stretching themselves out along its length.  So I put a bit of cat kibble on it.

There are only two in this photo, but for a while, both calico/trourties, and the teeny tabby, where eating with their mom.  The bigger tabby showed up later.

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Beep Beep’s kittens enjoyed some kibble, too, but weren’t too sure about my being nearby!  So they hid under one of the old car seat/benches.

I suppose it’s a good thing we aren’t planning to clear this junk away anytime soon, because they love climbing all over it.

Speaking of climbing…

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That little tuxedo takes after it’s mother!

I took some video, too, and am uploading it right now.  I’ll include those in another post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean up progress; west yard trees

Today, I went back to around the west side of the maple grove to continue cleaning up.  This time, however, I focused on the area nearest the fire pit and gate.  This area seemed to have been mostly spruces, though only a few have survived.

Let’s look at the before pictures.

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This spruce tree is right behind one of our piles of wood for the fire pit.  It’s doing rather well, though as with most spruces, the lowest branches on the trunk were dead and hidden by the ones above.

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Right at the wood pile is an elm tree that we thought was dead, but after we finally got some decent rain, suddenly shot out some green.  It is still mostly dead, but we’ll be leaving it for now.

Most of the spruces behind it are completely dead.  Only two are still alive, plus one scrawny little thing that I’m hoping will survive now that I’ve cleared away the dead stuff.

I went further under the trees for these next photos.

 

Going through here, looking at all the dead wood, all I could think of was “that’s a fire hazard, that’s a fire hazard, that’s a fire hazard…”

I started by pruning the spruce in the top photo and working my way in a bit, then went to taking down the two bigger dead spruces.  These ones have been making a mess of my nerves, every time we used the fire pit and a breeze blew towards them!

I took the bigger one down first, because it was easier to get at.

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When it finally started to drop, it got hung up on the trees on the other side of the gate.  The cut part also just stayed on the trunk.  I finally grabbed a piece of wood from the log pile and swung it like a baseball bat against the trunk.

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It still just dropped straight down, being held up by the other trees.

I finally got it to fall, though!

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After this, I cut the tree up into small sections so I could move it and work on the next one.

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Which also got stuck and needed whacking.

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It, too, was being held up by the trees on the other side of the gate.

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My older daughter happened to come out to ask me something, so she got to do the whacking…

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And also got it down from the other trees.

After this, I took down the two smaller dead spruces.

Then I realized I had completely blocked the gate, so the smaller stuff I would have taken to the pile outside the yard with a wheel barrow had to wait.

Here are the after pictures.

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In the foreground is the spruce from the top photo.  As I cleaned up after taking down the dead spruces, including cutting back some spreading lilac and caragana, I kept finding more and more dead stuff, buried under dead leaves and grass, and especially along the fence line.

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I’m leaving the stumps of the trees I took down for now.  You can see the pruned trunks of the two remaining spruces here; the skinnier one has just a few live branches at the top.  There are still dead branches I want to prune away, but for those, I’ll need the extended pruner, so it will wait for now.

There’s still lots to clear out of here but, at this point, the heat was becoming and issue and I was getting ready to head inside.

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The remains of the 4 dead spruces I took down, plus some of the larger dead pieces I dragged out while cleaning up.  Lots of dead caragana and lilac hidden among the living.  It seemed every time I thought I was done, I kept finding more and more to pull out!

I was just taking these last photos when my daughters came out to haul it all out of the yard for me.

They are so awesome!

Though it’s no where near done, the difference is still pretty amazing.

The Re-Farmer

Christmas in July!

It’s a good thing we didn’t have much planned for the day, other than my daughter’s shift!

After dropping my daughter off at work, I was going to take advantage of being in town to play a bit of Pokemon Go and visit the beach before it got hot and the crowds came out.

Just as I was about to park, I got a call from my older brother.

My mother had had a problem with a tire yesterday, and he was worried it was going to be a problem today, when she had plans to drive to our sister’s.  He was willing to drive all the way out from his place (1 1/2 hours!) to check on it, but was I able to do it for him?

Of course!

After double checking that I had a tire gauge in my emergency kit (otherwise, I would have tried to buy one somewhere, first), I headed out.  I checked her tire, which was good, then stopped by to let her know.  Normally, I always call before visiting, so I was prepared to just let her know and go, but I ended up being able to visit for a bit before she headed to church.  She wouldn’t have gone to check her car (visually, only) until she left for church – or after church, since it’s just across the street, and she wouldn’t have gone by her car on the way – so it was much less stressful for my brother and I to do it this way, early! 😀

Once back home, I called my brother and his wife to let them know how it went, and as we were talking, they asked if we could use various things for the farm.  They were going through my SIL’s late mother’s stuff, and wouldn’t be able to keep them.  I happily said yes.

We ended up meeting in town after I picked up my daughter.  I expected a box or two.

Nope.

Five boxes.  Including a size large one!

I gotta say, it was like Christmas in July!

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A collection of saws, a circular saw (yay!!!) a drill kit, gardening supplies and more!

There were even LED Christmas lights – with a timer – that we can put outside.  I can use them to replace the old ones at the gate. 😀

I’d already unpacked one of the boxes before I took that photo.  It included…

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Two beautiful jewelry boxes!

I’ve long pined over a really well organized jewelry box, but could never justify the expense.  Now we have two!

My younger daughter took the darker one, as it matches something she already has, and I will finally be able to take what jewelry I have (which isn’t much, really, but still) out of the slide lock baggies that I’ve been keeping them in! LOL

And when we use these, I will always think of my SIL and her late mother, and appreciate them even more.

The Re-Farmer

All Choked Up

Just a bit of catch up from yesterday, since I shut down the computer when we heard a thunderstorm coming in.  It ended up passing us by, but even so, it got pretty loud out there!

When doing my evening walk around the yard, I decided to head around the main garden area to check out the choke cherries.

There is one chokecherry tree on the south side of the garden, that my mother planted among the raspberries.  It has very few berries on it; I don’t think it’s getting anywhere near enough sun in that location.  The few it has are starting to turn a darker red.

This first photo is from one of the trees hidden among the lilacs along the north fence line.

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This next photo is from a tree about 50 feet away.

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These black ones are basically ripe.

Quite the difference between the two trees!

I’m not sure if we will be doing anything with them.  My mom was suggesting making jam, but I am really not up to that.  Especially for such a small amount of berries.  I wouldn’t mind trying to make wine with them, but we don’t have the set up for that right now.  They’re not the sort of thing you eat straight, though you certainly can.  They’re more pit than berry. 😀

Anyhow.

Yesterday was our day to go into the city for the Costco shopping.  It was a relatively small shop, though.  My husband gets his disability payments at the end of the month, and gets both CPP Disability (from the government), which is a fairly small payment that comes in a few business days before the end of the month, and then his private insurance payment, which comes in on the last business day of the month.  So we’ve been doing our monthly shop with the first one comes in, the paying the bills with the second one.

Not this month.

Because his CPAP died, we made sure to order that as soon as the money came in.  It ended up costing about CDN$650, which is an incredibly good price.  His insurance will reimburse a portion of that, but that won’t happen until next week, at the earliest.

Hopefully, the CPAP will come in quickly.  Although the sleep apnea does not seem as severe as it was years ago, the affects are being felt.  It’s not even the lack of oxygen, but the lack of REM sleep that can really cause problems.  When he was first diagnosed, the specialist estimated my husband hadn’t had any REM sleep for at least a year.  It almost killed him.  So we don’t want to take any chances!

The CPAP was ordered on Friday and my husband got a shipping notice before the end of the day.  However, the company can only guarantee shipping up until it gets to Canada.  After that, it’s up to Canada Post.  So the shipping estimate is 2-3 business weeks.  !!!

I don’t expect it to take that long.  Packages tend to get shipped faster than envelopes.

With that done, we basically did a half month shop, rather than a full month shop.

Now, I want to make one thing very clear.

I hate shopping.

Okay.  Maybe “hate” is too strong of a word.  Still, I really, really, really dislike shopping.  I don’t like being around so many people, in crowded aisles, etc.  Basically, everything about shopping, I dislike.

https://blog.brightlifedirect.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/spoon-theory.jpgWhich means a trip to Costco uses up all sort of spoons, until I’ve got nothing left but knives!

Which is why I like to have at least one of the girls with me.  They make sure I don’t just turn around and leave half way through shopping.  It’s much more pleasant with their company!

So we (both girls came along this time) did the Costco shopping, gassed up the van, and I even remembered to bring the jerry can to get premium gas for the riding mower (regular gas at Costco was $1.169, compared to $1.239 elsewhere, and premium was $1.269, so it was worth doing it there!).

Before the move, our usual routine was to do the Costco shopping for the big stuff, then go to a local grocery franchise for the non-bulk stuff.  In the years we were away, that franchise expanded into the city here, but there are very few of them.  The girls wanted to pick up something we knew was carried by this company.  We did consider checking out a couple of the other grocery chains, but really don’t like them, so I looked up the nearest store of the one we do like.  It turned out there was a location a convenient drive from the area we were in, so we decided to check it out.

Well now.

Did I mention I hate shopping?

When we got to the place, the first thing we saw were the extra signs.  It was an “international” store, with online shopping.  Of course, that had us joking about whether they delivered to where we live, out in the sticks.  It also had a “kitchen” area.

Hmm.

Then we walked in.

Wow.

I must have looked like a country yokel that had come into the big city for the first time!

We couldn’t believe this place!

It was huge and open.  The aisles were wide, and accessible (knowing so many wheelchair and walker users, it’s now automatic for me to assess aisle space and judge how well someone in a wheelchair would be able to navigate).  The “kitchen” area had a wide variety of local and international foods, hot and fresh, with a lovely, well lit and welcoming seating area.  They had several food “bars”, with the usual things like chicken wings, olives and Chinese food – and a perogie bar!  There was a cheese island.  Half the store was dedicated to international foods – three aisles were of just Filipino food.

Before the move, there were a couple of local grocery stores that had stuff we couldn’t find anywhere else.  One was an Italian store that specialized in European imports.  The other was a Chinese grocery store that included hot food take out/dine in areas (with some of the best bao I’ve ever tasted).

This store was like those two, plus the regular grocery store, merged into one.

It was heaven.  A total joy to shop there!

We had to deliberately stop ourselves from going through all the international aisles, so we wouldn’t completely blow our budget!

We need to come back.  With money.  All three of us agreed that this store alone was worth the drive to the city to shop in.

Did I mention I hate shopping?

Not here!

I can’t wait to go back.  And this time, we’ll plan on having lunch there, too!

The Re-Farmer

Morning at the beach

A couple of photos of the lake, taken this morning.

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The water was so still this morning!

While it’s usually quiet in the mornings, there isn’t going to be any swimming for beach goers for a while.  Several beaches at this area of the lake are now closed.  It seems some pipe got damaged, resulting in untreated sewage draining into the lake.  From what I’ve read, the water tests were still testing safe, but the province closed some beaches to be on the safe side.

This is unusual only in regards to the cause.  The usual reason for beach closures are high algae levels, which has been an ongoing problem on the lake for decades, or high e. coli levels from bird poop.

And that, kids, is why we use chlorine in pools! 😉

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

After not seeing Beep Beep’s kittens for a while, I began to think she had moved them again.

I was right.

This morning, I caught some movement out our bedroom window and saw Beep Beep in one of the big maples by the old garden shed.  I called my husband’s attention to her, and that’s when he spotted a kitten!

The tuxedo was up in the tree, too!

So when I went to feed the outside cats, I brought food over to where Butterscotch’s kittens are, then left some for Beep Bee’s kittens, in front of the garden shed.

Then I waited.

I also got video.  It’s uploading right now and taking a while, so I might not have a chance to post it before I head into the city for our big grocery stock up trip.

So here are some stills for now.

I sat at the picnic table, and Beep Beep came to say hello. 🙂

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She was torn between demanding pets, and checking out the bowl I use to carry the kitty kibble.

Rolando Moon also showed up.

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Oh, she’s a mean one!  She hisses at the other cats and bats at them fairly regularly, which I normally don’t interfere with, but when she starts hissing at the kittens, I step in!

So she went over towards the garden area and began rolling in the dirt next to a gooseberry bush.

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While taking video, I was very surprised to see an orange kitten come out!

Now I need to figure out; is this Beep Beep’s mystery third kitten?  Or did one of Butterscotch’s babies come to visit?

Butterscotch had come over, too, and I started to see her kittens coming closer, too.  Including her teeny tabby.

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So if the teeny tabby is adventuring this far out from where Butterscotch has put them, the bigger one is certainly able to go right in.

There are so few distinguishing characteristics, it’s hard to say.

The tuxedo did not come out at all while I was outside.

Oh, they are so cute!!

The Re-Farmer