Getting feisty!

Part of my morning routine, weather willing, is to walk around the yard and check on things, such as looking for fallen branches, or seeing if anything broke or blew over during the night.

Having been able to clear as much of the spruce grove perimeter as I have, I now include that as well.

So I finally got a photo this morning, of the lonely little cedar tree, cleared of the poplars that were starting to crowd it.

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I will have to do some research to find out the best way to care for this little guy.  🙂

Beep Beep has taken to following me, as I walk around.  Sometimes, Butterscotch as well.

This morning, I had both of them.

Beep Beep, we’ve noticed, has been getting feistier and more aggressive to the other cats.  This morning, she went after Butterscotch!20181026.catfight1

It’s one thing to be growling at the other cats, and maybe batting at them a bit.  Rolando Moon has always been like that.

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But this morning, she was ready to start a fight with Butterscotch!

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And Butterscotch is definitely the more passive of the two.

I broke them up and ended up carrying Butterscotch for a while.

Poor thing. 😦

The Re-Farmer

 

Vehicular Milestone

You know, the outside cats make going outside quite entertaining!  Check out Beep Beep!

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Earlier, when I was walking around the yard, she followed me, insisting on attention, until I finally picked her up and carried her the rest of the way.

Later, as I brought the van into the yard, cats and kits scattered all over the place.  Beep Beep went up the tree.  When I came near, she started rolling around so much, she almost fell off!

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Kitten Rescue!

Doom Guy and Beep Beep kept me company while I was cleaning up around the garage and fence line this afternoon.  When I got to where I had to figure out some way to lift the post hole pounder, to free up the bikes under it, I went into the lean to on this side of the garage, to find something to help.

Since I was going in and out of it, I left the door open.

Of course, the cats went in to check it out.  This is the only part of the garage they can’t squeeze their way into, so it was all new to them!

While working on the junk pile, I could hear meowing from the garage.  I went in to see, and from the direction of the sound, figured Doom Guy was exploring under the counter.  After a while, though, the meowing started to sound decidedly distressed.

So I went back to look again.

Which is when I discovered Doom Guy was trapped behind the counter.

The counter has open space under it, but it also had a back to it.  Above the counter are boards covering the wall joists; likely to prevent things from falling off the back of the counter, where they could not be retrieved.

Doom Guy was somewhere in the wall joists!

Now, while we’ve been using this lean to for storing the riding mower, and a few other things, we were not going to start sorting and cleaning up the garage any time soon.  So stuff that’s in there have been there for years.

Lots of stuff.

I ended up getting one of my daughters to come and help me.  She came into the garage, just in time to see the top of Doom Guy’s head, before he fell back down again.  He could climb to the top, but couldn’t get over the edge of the board.

So we cleared the end of the counter, my daughter climbed on top of it, and ripped the board that was there off completely.

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The blue on the left is another section of board, blocking the space.

This is some of the stuff that was on the counter.

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The shadow is Beep Beep’s tail. 😀

The wooden things on the ground are shelves, filled with nuts, bolts and other small items. All metal.

I’m glad the two parts were separate, because it took two of us lift each of them off!

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The noise and bustle we made spooked Doom Guy into squeezing over to another space. I could only see him by using my phone!

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We even put some cat treats at the top, to tempt him to climb up again.

At one point, I could hear him purring!

I even managed to move the counter away from the wall by a couple of inches.  It couldn’t be moved too far, as that end is resting on a bit of concrete foundation.  It would fall right off, if moved too far.

We left the garage to give Doom Guy some quiet, so he would try and climb again.  After a while, my daughter came back.  We could hear some scrambling, so she hopped onto the counter.  As soon as he was close enough, she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pulled him the rest of the way out!

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He was just covered in dirt and cobwebs!

He does not look happy. 😀

When he got down to the ground, she tried to give him treats there, but he was more interested in attention.

So his mom ate them.

My daughter took the treat container and, shaking it to make some noise, tried to tempt him away from the garage.  Instead, he kept sniffing the spot where the treats his mother ate had been.  So I picked him up and took him to my daughter, who got him over to the house.

I’m glad we were able to get him out of there.  For a while, I was seriously considering cutting a hole in the wall, from the outside!

I haven’t put anything back on the counter, yet.  A lot of what’s there might just get thrown out (why are there so many empty tool and tool accessory cases?).  At the very least, I want to clean the end of the counter before putting the shelves back – and getting rid of all the dead Asian Lady Beetles that fell out when the board got pulled off!

I supposed the board should be put back.  Maybe not nailed and glued in place again, though!

While fussing with things on the counter later on, though, something caught my eye, in between some pieces and parts, boxes and cases.

Was that a glass?

With liquid in it?

What on earth?

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Oil.

Dirty oil.

Why is that there?

How long has it been there?

We’re going to have our work cut out for us, when we finally get to cleaning the garage.

Hopefully, no more kittens will need to be rescued!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: spruce grove perimeter, south side

It was such a beautiful day today – we hit 8C today – I couldn’t resist!  I started working on the spruce grove perimeter again.  With the manual labour, the cooler temperatures are just perfect.

Rather than start were I left off last time, I started near the outhouse and garage.  I want to be able to go into the area with my wheelbarrow and tools from here, rather than having to go all the way around where I’d already cleared.  Also, there was a pile of junk at the corner of the garage I wanted to clear out.

It turned out to be a much bigger job than I expected!

In fact, I’ll be splitting this up into three posts to cover it all – including when I had to stop and get one of my daughters to help me get out a trapped kitten!

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Home Made Chicken Stock

The following is a “use watcha got” recipe to use up the carcasses of your cooked chicken (or turkey).  This stock is cooked down to be more concentrated, and should result in a rather firm, gel-like consistency when cool.

Decide ahead of time how you will store your stock, and prepare in advance as needed.  I used pint sized canning jars and sterilized the canning funnel, jars, lids and rings during the last hour or so of cooking.  You could also pour the stock into ice cube trays for freezing, or use freezer bags.

You will also need a colander and bowl large enough to hold your stock, plus a sieve and cheesecloth for straining.  Having a giant measuring cup is also very handy to stain into, making it easier to pour the stock into jars.

Ingredients:

bones and skin from roasted chickens (or turkey)
pan drippings
onion and/or leeks
garlic cloves
vegetables such as carrots, celery (including leaves), celeriac, parsnips
herbs such as rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, bay leaves, ginger, parsley or dill
peppercorns
salt; optional
cold water
optional additions: lemon or orange zest, a splash of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

homemade.chicken.stockNote: Quantities will depend on how many carcasses you are using.   For 3 carcasses, I used 1 large onion, a whole head of garlic, 4 carrots, and whatever herbs I had handy in my cupboard.

Seasonings will also depend on how the chickens were seasoned when cooked.  When I roasted ours, I first rubbed them with lemon juice and put the lemon pieces, with some bay leaves, into the cavities.  I also rubbed lemon salt, paprika, pepper and oil into the skin.  Because of this, I was able to be light on the salt and pepper when making the stock.  What salt I did use was lemon salt.

  1. Place your chicken bones and skin into a large stock pot.  Scrape pan drippings in (cooled pan drippings may be gelled, which is awesome).
  2. Add onions, cut into large pieces (skin can be left on, if you wish), or leeks cut into 2 inch or so chunks.
  3. Crush garlic cloves with the side of a large knife (skins can be left on, but I like to remove them) and add to the pot.
    Note: If you don’t have fresh onions or garlic, dried can be used.
  4. Vegetables do not need to be peeled.  Just scrub them, and remove the root ends.  Chop them into about 2 inch pieces, then add to the pot.
  5. Add fresh or dried herbs and other seasonings of your choice.
  6. Add peppercorns (or ground pepper, if that’s what you have) and salt.  If you’re not sure about the salt, leave it for later, after tasting.
  7. Add enough cold water to cover everything by about 1 or 2 inches.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Do not stir, as that will make your stock cloudy.
  9. Simmer for about 3-4 hours.
  10. Place a colander over a large bowl.  Carefully pour everything in the stock pot, into the colander.  Gently lift out the colander, allowing to drain, and set aside.  Colander contents can be discarded.
  11. Wash the stock pot out and place back on the stove.  Pour the stock, through a sieve, back into the stock pot.
  12. Taste for seasonings.  Adjust as desired.
  13. Bring the stock to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue to simmer the stock down until reduced by 1/3rd.
  14. Line a sieve with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl or large measuring cup.
  15. Gently ladle the stock into the lined sieve.
  16. Fill prepared containers with strained stock (in batches, if need be) and seal.
  17. Refrigerate or freeze, as desired.

 

Using the carcasses of 3 chickens, I was able to fill 11 pint sized canning jars (all the ones I had available), plus have 3 cups of stock left over.

The second cooking down of the stock concentrates it a bit; if you wanted to, you could continue to cook it down more, for an even more concentrated stock.  Keep this in mind when you use it, as you may need to water it down a bit.

Enjoy!

The Re-Farmer

Something fishy going on!

Today was very much a kitchen day for me.  We roasted three chickens yesterday, ate most of one for supper, then I de-boned all three, saving the bones and skin to make a stock.

Since I was tending the stock for so many hours (which will be a separate post), I took advantage of the time and started working on cleaning the kitchen.  You know, the pull out the microwave, clear everything off the counters, wash the knife blocks, kind of cleaning.

Our 20 gallon fish tank is in the kitchen, and I decided to do a complete water change on that.  Which meant taking the plants, and our three lonely fish, out completely.

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That is the last neon tetra of the 10 I bought, last year. 😦  The algae eaters were sold to me as Siamese algae eaters, but that’s not what they are at all.  I believe these ones are Chinese algae eaters.  We had a pair or Siamese algae eaters when we moved, but when we found we couldn’t set up our 90 gallon tank right away, I quickly picked up the 20 gallon tank we are using now, and transferred our plants and fish.  Sadly, the Siamese algae eaters did not survive.  They survived the drive over, but in the time it took to get the small tank, I think their water just got too cold.  I do want to pick up more; they eat a different kind of algae than the other types of algae eaters.  Plus, I want to get more neon tetras again.

My goal had been to set up the 90 gallon tank with enough plants to not need to use an aerator at all.  With the number of plants I have now, we are able to do that with the 20 gallon tank.  I do have the portable aerator, just in case, but haven’t needed it in months.

Unfortunately, a piece broke when I was disassembling the filter for our 90 gallon tank in preparation for the move.  It’s a connector for a hose.  I figured I could just pick up a new part after the move, but no one carries the brand out here.  It’s not even available on their website.  I can do without an aerator (though we do have one), but not without a filter.  A filtration system for that size of tank is not cheap, so it’s not like we’ll be able to replace it anytime soon.

So the big tank, on its stand, sits in the corner of the living room, taking up space. 😦  My older daughter and I were talking about what to do with it.  We might just put a board across the top, then cover it with a cloth, so it looks better. :-/  I’m sure there’s a piece of plywood we could use, somewhere around here! 😀

Meanwhile, our little fishies are now back in their home, with fresh water and re-arranged decor. 😀

The Re-Farmer

I wish I could say this was a surprise

Just over a week ago, we discovered that someone had put glue into the lock on our main gate.

The last time this happened, my daughter and I went through our back gate, which isn’t normally used, to get out.  Then we had to get bolt cutters and a new lock for the main gate.  This was before we rebuilt the back gate, so at the time, the lock and chain where the only things holding the remains of a barbed wire gate up.  It was basically enough to keep the cows from getting onto the road, the first time they broke through by the barn and into our outer yard. Continue reading

He’s back!

One of the dad cats showed up again this morning, cooperatively posing for me outside our living room window, so I could get some photos! 🙂

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Dad cat is looking a little rough around the edges!

While he seems to be coming around more regularly, yesterday I saw – and heard! – him being driven away by Rolando Moon.  Who can be just as mean to the other cats, too, we’ve noticed!

I think we are slowly but surely getting The Outsider used to us, faster than the other kittens!  Yesterday, my younger daughter was using a stick to play with him (her?), and even managed to pet him briefly.

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I played with her a bit, too, and she was willing to come close to my feet, but then seemed to realize how close she was and would run off a bit.  Then come back again, to play with the end of the stick.

While all the kittens and their moms seem to have accepted him as one of their own, he and Doom Guy are getting to be quite the pair!  I wasn’t able to get any good photos, but they snuggle up in the sun room, regularly.  Earlier today, while taking something out of the freezer, I looked out the window to the swing bench.  Much to my surprise, there were no kittens on it.  Then I found the two of them.  They were on the old dresser I use to hold the tools, snuggled up and looking out the window.  That space is normally covered with bags of cat food, but we’re on the last bag right now, so it’s available.

I think, from now through the winter, we’re going to have to start buying 4 big bags of cat food a month, instead of the 3 we did last year.  We could get away with 2 in the summer, so I would have an extra bag left over from month to month, but this month we’ve already gone through 3 and are into the 4th – though some of that was due to the cats dumping the bucket onto the floor and eating it all night!

Cat kibble in bulk.  Bird seed.  Deer feed.

Not quite what we were expecting to be doing, when we first moved out here!

Hard to believe, in just a few days, it’ll be a year since my husband and younger daughter flew out.

It’s been quite a year!

The Re-farmer