A couple more steps closer!

Since we had to go into town today to pick up prescriptions, we added in as many errands as we could think of, so we wouldn’t have to come back any time soon.

Which would have been a moot point, since one of my husband’s prescriptions can’t be filled until tomorrow (one of the highly regulated drugs he’s on). I will be taking my mother to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, though, in a different town. Thankfully, my husband has enough that it can wait for my daughter to pick up when she’s at work on Saturday.

I knew the seeds we ordered were waiting for us at the post office, so we swung by a hardware store, where I hoped to pick up a soil mix specifically for vegetables. I couldn’t find any, so I picked up a couple of trays and extra Jiffy pellets. When I asked about the soil, I expected to hear the inventory wasn’t in yet. Nope. They’re sold out!

My daughter was a sweetheart and picked this up for me.

A mini greenhouse kit! I’ve wanted one of these for years. ❤

Cheddar decided he would help me put it together.

In looking at the seeds that have come in, and deciding which ones we’ll want to start indoors, and which we’ll seed outside, I finally went and looked up when our last frost date is. Since the seeds say to start them X number of weeks before all danger of frost is past, I figured I should probably confirm when that is! For most people here, it’s traditional to get their gardens in on the May long weekend.

It turns out that, for our area, the frost date is June 2nd. !! In the city, an hour’s drive south of us, it’s May 28th.

Which means the earliest we would need to start seeds indoors is May 5th! I was expecting to be starting them in mid-April, at the latest.

Hhhmmm. I think we’ll still start some of them in mid-April anyhow. Particularly the cucamelon, which needs at lot more warmth and longer growing season compared to anything else we’ve picked up.

I had something else come in the mail that needed to be assembled. Unlike the mini-greenhouse, this did not come with assembly instructions.

Along with our seeds order (minus the gourd seeds, which were back ordered but should be in very soon), we got the bottle cutter I’d ordered. I chose this one specifically because it can cut square as well as round bottles. While it came with instructions for use, I had to use a photo on the other side of the sheet to figure out how the back plate was supposed to be put on.

While I plan to test it out and make some practice cuts, I don’t think I’ll start making the bottle bricks yet. The plan for our first cordwood practice building is to build on a base of 8x8x16 concrete blocks.

Which has been strangely hard to find in the flat ended type I want. Most that I’m finding are 8x6x16, or 8x8x16’s with shaped ends. I hope to find what we are looking for at the salvage place I found (which, I found out, my brother has been to a few times), but inventory there is based on whatever the demolition crews happen to bring in. If I can’t get enough in the size I’m after, we might have to change the thickness of the walls. So I while I might make a bottle brick or two for practice, until we know what dimensions we’re working with, we will just continue to collect bottles and get them cleaned out and ready. If I can find some polishing paper and polishing paste, I could try cutting some bottles to make vases or something in the mean time.

So now that we have almost all our seeds, the seed starting supplies, the mini-greenhouse, the lawn mower blade sharpener and the bottle cutter, we’ve got the tools and materials to get quite a few things accomplished in the next while!

I look forward to getting things done! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Water, water, everywhere, and in recovery

Doing my rounds this morning is, for the most part, getting easier as the snow melts. There are just a couple of shaded areas where sheets of ice and formerly hard-packed snow suddenly giving way under my feet, have made walking somewhat more dangerous!

It also means that, while the water between the house and the garage has gone from “lake” to ” large muddy puddles”, there is a lot more water in other areas, too.

I noticed this while going past the outhouse this morning.

The outhouse door has a piece of plywood in front of it, with a rotted out hole. I’d had a metal… something I don’t know the name of, but it’s used as steps on large vehicles… over the hole, but while it’s there, the outhouse door can’t be opened. It had been set aside during our septic troubles (not that we used the outhouse; it’s too disgusting in there!) and not put back yet. This allowed me to see that the hole under the door is getting bigger – and the pit is full of water! I checked the access area at the back, and could see the water there, too. That pit is completely filled.

The outhouse is sitting on what is probably beams of pressure treated wood, which look like they have sunk into the ground. It really should have been on concrete or something, and raised slightly above ground level. I doubt any of the outhouses that have ever been here were done that way. Which would explain why they have been replaced so many times over the years. I know of at least 3, not counting the one that was there that we used before we got running water in the house.

Another reason why we want to build a new outhouse, without a pit and on a proper base! Composting toilets have their own issues, but I’ll take those over dealing with a pit, thankyouverymuch. 😀

I also had something I could really appreciate while doing this morning’s rounds.

I was able to do them without needing a cane.

Yesterday evening, after all the walking around with the wheelbarrow I’d done earlier, was a difficult one. I definitely over did it. My hip gave out again, and it didn’t recover as it had earlier. Thankfully, we keep canes around the house, including one of my dad’s canes that we’ve left hanging on an arm bar between the old and new parts of the house. I had to get my daughter to bring it to me, because I couldn’t walk from my desk chair to get it. Even my left hip was becoming more of a problem. Both hips have mild osteoarthritis, but my left hip hurts pretty constantly, due to bone spurs. Typically, it’s a level of pain I can ignore, but that was getting hard to do, yesterday evening. When my right hip was X-rayed, it showed mild OA, but also fragments basically floating around, and I think that’s what’s causing my problems. I think fragments are getting into the joint, causing pain until they get worked out of the joint again.

I will have to get myself to a doctor again to check it out.

I got very little sleep last night, due to the pain and discomfort, even though I’d taken pain killers. It’s better now, in that I can walk without a cane and put weight on my right leg again, but even with painkillers, it’s still hurting quite a lot. I also needed to use my husband’s bath chair while I showered.

So today is going to be a day of recovery for me. Aside from heading out to the pharmacy this afternoon, to pick up prescriptions, I’m going to have to focus on giving my body a break to heal up. I figure this is a good time to catch up on some more crochet projects. 🙂 I’ll have to remember to get the mail today, too. My order from Vesey’s is ready for pick up. The girls and I will go over what we want to start indoors. Almost everything we got can actually be sown outdoors after danger of frost is past, which would be about mid-May, but getting a head start on some of them would also be good.

I’m really looking forward to being able to garden this year!

As long as my body holds out. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Clearing things out and potential salvage items

My goal for today was to start getting things out of the basement and into the barn or junk pile, as appropriate. My daughters were doing a whole bunch of baking, but we were able to coordinate a time when we could work together on that.

I didn’t get as much done in the basement as I wanted, but there was still a lot of progress.

The first thing to do was shovel a path to the barn and get one of the doors clear enough to open.

There were a couple of problems. The first was that, having worked my way to the barn door, my hip suddenly did it’s thing. From one step to the next, I became unable to put any weight on my right leg, due to pain and instability.

I was, however, able to work on my left leg, so as long as I could just pivot around, I could finish clearing the barn door, moving my right leg around just enough to try and work out whatever was causing the pain in my hip joint. By the time I did, my hip was back to normal, and I could deal with the second problem.

There was a ridge of ice right at the door. The doors sag in the middle, and it was just high enough to prevent the door from opening. The plastic snow shovel couldn’t clear it away, but a steel shovel could chip away enough for the door to finally open.

These doors are feeling very fragile.

Once inside, I had to figure out where I could clear out a space to put things.

My goodness, what a terrible picture. My hands must have been shaking like crazy, after the shoveling! Normally, I take multiple photos, just in case, but not today. Ah, well.

So I’m in the middle of the barn at this point. The old cattle stalls in the front half were all full of things, but further back were some that might be workable. Of course, the hall in the middle needed to be cleared, too.

There was also the lean to on the side of the barn, which has more space, but…

When a metal roof was put on the barn (right on top of the rotting original roof), the lean to was skipped. As you can see, there is a lot of water in there. Water from the melting snow is dripping straight through a number of areas.

There was a stall that I could at least partially clear. In the process, I found…

… old trusses that are rotting where they touch the concrete. (That’s my gloved finger messing with the photo, there. LOL)

Those metal screens in the back are interesting, though. I might find a use for them.

This grabber was hanging at one end. This is not something I remember from when I was growing up here. I have no idea where it came from. Looking at the size of the handle, this is meant for two people to use. One of these days, I’d love to restore it.

After clearing some space, I also cleared away some stuff that was in the gutter in front of the old stall. Some pieces of wood had managed to fall under the lid of the cistern, so I opened it up to get them out.

I didn’t bother getting the rest of the junk out. I do wonder why these are hear. They couldn’t have fallen in with the lid in place.

This, btw, is a urine drain. When the cows did their business, most went into the gutters, and the urine would flow into the pair of cisterns on either side of the hallway. Once they were full, we just emptied them with a bucket.

This is how things looks after clearing things out.

I could now get through the hall to access the space I’d cleared.

There is a whole lot of stuff all over the barn. Including lots and lots of windows.

Like this one, which looks like something we might be able to use in a future cordwood practice building. After the outhouse, which will have strategically placed bottle bricks instead of windows, we’re thinking of making a garden shed, which will have windows.

With that in mind, I went looking at some of the other stuff lying about.

I rather like this steel, exterior door. If it’s not too water damaged, I think it would be fantastic for our outdoor bathroom. There aren’t keys, of course, so the deadbolt and probably the door knob would need to be replace. Likely the hinges as well. It looks like there’s only half hinges on there right now. 😀

There are also these huge pieces of window glass. Too big for any project we’re thinking of now, but perhaps usable for something else.

I also checked out a shed near the barn. I’ve actually been poking about a few places, as the snow melts enough for me to be able to access them, looking for the drawknife I know I saw, some time ago. I can’t remember where, though! So far, I have not been able to find it. 😦 I was hoping to get it sharpened for use as we debark wood for the cordwood building.

The shed has more windows, including one that looks like it would work well in the deep walls of a cordwood building.

Why are there so many windows all over the place? Many of them are quite old, made before the more energy efficient double and triple pane windows were invented.

It may not look like much, but this aluminum double sink is still quite sturdy. I am thinking of cleaning it up and bringing it into the old basement, to go under the set of taps where the washing machine used to be.

Ah, there’s the table saw! I was hoping it wasn’t one of the things that grew legs and walked away while this place was empty.

Which makes me think it might now be in working order.

If it is, I’m going to be very happy! It will come in very handy for future projects.

I kinda sorta found a second one.

I spotted a blade in between the stacks of flooring. It seems to be a table saw, without it’s table!

Speaking of tables…

There’s a round table top, minus its legs (which might be lying about somewhere else, for all I know), next to yet another stack of windows.

I wonder if that big blower on the counter works? It looks like a larger version of what we have in the old basement.

They’re hard to see, but there are stacks of glass blocks under the counter. I was seeing some at the salvage yard website I found, and at salvage prices, blocks of this size were selling for $8 each. There’s probably about 30 or 40 of them under there.

At one end of the shed are more doors. That wooden door with the big glass window is probably an exterior door. The lock on it would be for a skeleton key. They certainly don’t make doors like this anymore – with reason!

Then there’s a sections of a fence, that was clearly cut apart with a saw. :-/ And more windows. Because there are windows, everywhere!

Hopefully, we’ll be able to find most of the materials we need to build our first cordwood practice building in all of this!

Then there was this thing.

I have no clue what this thing is. If anyone knows, please leave a note in the comments, because I would love to find out!

I also found these.

Just… tucked away, under a shelf.

I really don’t think these go back to when my dad worked in a shoe factory. They are newer than that.

So many things… so few explanations! 😀

With the space cleared in the barn, it was time to get stuff out of the basement.

Which… didn’t go as well as I had hoped. My hip did its thing again, part way through, and we ended up stopping sooner than I’d hoped.

That shopping cart has been coming in very handy, including as an impromptu walker!

We did get a decent amount out, though.

At this point, we just needed to get the stuff out of the house, so my daughter put the stuff in organized piles. Glass and regular garbage in one area, the water damaged shelf, riddled with nails, for burning, hazardous materials, including mystery liquids, and stuff to go to the barn for storage, or the junk pile.

Once my hip was working again, the girls went back to baking and I got the bigger wheel barrow and started hauling things away.

I also grabbed a cane from our collection to keep handy, just in case! 😀

Then, since I was hauling things into the barn anyhow, I cleared a few things from the garage, too.

It’s still a disaster, but I was able to clear out more batteries, paint cans, and some jugs and 5 gallon pails of mystery liquid.

I discovered that this wheelbarrow can handle only 2 batteries at a time. Those things are heavy!!

Gosh, there is a lot of junk to sift through in there. 😦 Somehow, we have to separate out the junk from the stuff worth keeping. I see some sort of little compressor under there.

After many trips back and forth to the barn (I had my phone in my pocket, and walked far enough to hatch 3 Pokemon Go eggs! That would make it at least 2 kms of walking, probably more), this is the result.

I’ve got the hazmat mystery liquids and paint in one area, a total of 11 car, truck and possibly tractor batteries (there are at least two more in the side of the garage where we keep the lawn mower, and probably more in the basement) and a couple of old sump pumps. My brother tells me that at least one of them works, as it was used as an emergency pump at some point. There are others that will make their way in here, too. I’m hoping to get the old door from the van into the barn as well, and there are quite a lot of other things that I’d like to get out, including what appears to be a collection of motors. If we run out of space here, there is another section that can be cleared out for more.

Then, at some point, we’ll take all the old paint cans and mystery liquids to the landfill for proper disposal, and the batteries will be taken to a scrap yard to be sold for their lead, along with the bags of aluminum.

By the time all this was done, it was almost evening. There were still loaves of bread rising, with some in the oven, so no one had been able to start supper.

My husband was a sweetheart and ordered pizza! I didn’t mind the trip into town to pick it up. Since I’ll be going into town again tomorrow, to pick up prescription refills, it gave me the opportunity to park the van in front of the house. That way, I won’t have to walk through the lake of melt water to get to the garage!

Hhhhmmm… That pizza is really hitting the spot! ❤

The Re-Farmer

A day of rest – and crochet yarn bowls!

Usually, my daughter works a short shift on Sundays, so I spend time in town as part of keeping Sunday as a day of rest. It feels weird to not be doing that, but the pharmacy is now closed on Sundays. It’s also totally messing with my sense of time! 😀

When my husband called in his prescription refills, he was asked to get our daughter to pick them up during her break, so we figured she was getting another weekday to make up for the loss of Sundays.

We were wrong.

Her hours have been cut back to just 3 shifts every 2 weeks. The pharmacist must have assumed she’d be in. I’ll just have to make a special trip in to town for the refills.

I just checked the government website. An $82 Billion aid package was recently passed to help people who are struggling financially due to the Wuhan virus shut downs. Last I saw, people who lost more that 8 hours a week could get aid, but that was before the bill was completed and passed. That is gone now. She’s have to lose all hours completely, in order to qualify for aid. :-/ Thankfully, she’s okay with that.

Once again, I am so incredibly thankful for my husband’s excellent private insurance disability payments. That and living here on the farm, where we pay “rent” by taking care of the place.

Last night, I managed to find a Canadian Orthodox Lutheran church service for this 5th Sunday of Lent to watch this morning. Celebrating Easter this year is going to be another strange one. No blessing of the baskets at church this year!

One of the things I decided to do to recharge my batteries today was finish a small crochet project; a yarn basket. I’ve made three slightly different versions of them so far, and am quite enjoying the process.

Here is the first one I made. (click on the images to see them better)

I used 2 strands of Handicrafter Cotton yarn, which holds structural shapes quite well. (I can get the little skeins of this yarn at a dollar store in town, but have to go to the city to be able to get the large skeins it also comes in.) I had no pattern, but saw one on Pinterest and realized it was just a simple bowl shape with an opening for the working ends of yarn.

This is the one I just finished.

This is actually the third one I’ve made, and the first where I added an extra colour. I wanted to use up some of the little balls of yarn I had left over from other projects.

I like to reball my yarn into centre pull balls, and the first yarn bowl I made was large enough to hold two full sized and one little centre pull ball of yarn. Having the yarn threaded through the opening in the bowl helps keep it flowing smoothly – especially when using multiple strands at once.

It also helps protect my yarn from cats! 😀

The second one I made used one strand of solid gray and one strand of variegated yarn that included the same shade of grey in its colours. My daughter picked that one for herself. 🙂 Each bowl is slightly different in size and shape as I experimented with the design.

I’m quite happy with how these are turning out. They are great to work on while watching a movie or something, since they’re made almost entirely with one stitch, and require very little counting.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work. The girls plan to do baking, so I plan to head out and shovel away the drift in front of the barn doors, so we have someplace to store the things we will be taking out of the basement. Then it’s time to start clearing things out, so that we can clean it and turn it into …

A maternity ward. From the looks of her, Butterscotch is pregnant, and may have kittens before things melt away and dry up enough to empty and clean out the sun room, so we can use it as a maternity ward like we did last year. Plus, we have to get Two-Face indoors as quick as we can. She’s booked to be spayed in mid April, but there’s a risk of her going into her first heat before then.


So we’ll have inside cats, outside cats and basement cats!

The Re-Farmer

Shelving it

During our trip to the city, I was able to pick up a couple of cheap plastic utility shelves for the old basement. Due to lack of space with all our other shopping, I ended up getting one at Costco and one at Walmart. They were the same size and type, but different brands.

Today, I wanted to start setting them up and grabbed the one from Walmart.

The basement stairs are steep with narrow treads, so I tried sliding it down the stairs in front of me. Like an idiot. This set of shelves were held together with nothing but a single strap (the Costco shelves were shrink wrapped). One of the shelves came loose form the others, and the next thing I knew, I was balancing precariously at the top of the stairs, one shelf in my hand, the rest almost at the bottom of the stairs, no way to close the door behind me, and a sudden crowd of cats wanting to check out the sudden stream of blue language.

Thankfully, my husband was able to rescue me. All I really needed was for him to keep the cats away and close the door.

I look forward to when the basements are safe enough that we don’t have to worry about them getting down there.

I decided the other shelf could wait until I was done with this one.

Both of these are 5 shelves tall. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fit at that height.

I was right.

Even if that support was all the way in (I had to use the flat side of a hammer to get the others in), it would still be too tall.

Which is fine. Four shelves is good enough.

I focused on replacing the sorter shelf, with its many glass jars, first, since it was the most unstable.

A perfect fit! Except…

My apologies for the out of focus picture, but you can see how much space is under the leg, when I leveled the shelf.

So I needed to put something thin under the front legs, while still staying away from wood or metal. What did we have that I could use?

I started looking around in the new part basement when I remembered the stack of old floor tiles I’d moved from the bottom of one of the shelves while cleaning up.


Nice and stable, too. The other leg ended up needing a couple more tiles than this one.

That floor is remarkably uneven!

It didn’t make sense to put all those filthy jars back into the nice new shelf, so I made use of the old laundry sink.

In between soaking and washing batches of jars, I got my husband to bring over the other shelf.

Which was much, much easier to get down the stairs. Amazing what a difference a bit of shrink wrap can make!

Once I got it open, however, and starting looking between the shelves for the parts and pieces, something seemed… off. There seemed to be an awful lot of supports in there. And what was that, stuck under one of the shelves? That’s an odd shape…

So, according to the part list, there should have been 4 top caps, 4 legs, 16 support poles, 5 shelves and 3 wall brackets.

There were 5 shelves, 20 support poles, no top caps, no legs, no wall brackets, and 2… whatever those things are in the picture. I think they’re legs from a completely different style of shelf.

Well, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I may not have legs, but I still have bricks!

I also used more of those tiles to level the shelf at the front.

I found an email address on the information sheet for this company’s customer service department, so I’ll email them about the parts issue later. This Costco one was a tiny bit more expensive (worth it, just for the shrink wrap!), but also seems to be a higher quality, too. I want to get more of these, and would get more Costco ones, if I had to choose, but not if they’re all messed up like this! 😀

Here is a before and after.

Cleaning the jars gave me a chance to look for chips, and I did end up taking out about 5 large canning jars and another 4 or 5 quart sized ones. Some of the ones I kept did have teeny chips I could just barely feel, but these will never be used for food again, so I was okay with keeping them. The ones with larger chips have the potential to cut someone, so I will probably find a way to use them for something else, where it won’t be an issue. Like bottle bricks.

As we start going through the collection of bottles in the new part basement, we’ll add more to the ones being set aside here, for potential use as bottle bricks. There are also lots more jars in the old kitchen that will come down here, so more of these shelves will be needed just for those.

The wooden shelves will be moved into the new part basement and put into use there, since we don’t have to worry about the wood getting wet in there.

A nice little bit of progress down there for the day. 🙂 I’m quite happy with it!

The Re-Farmer


After all the snowmelt yesterday, we had ourselves a few skating rinks around the yard! The ice wasn’t quite thick enough to hold my weight as I did my rounds.

Boy am I glad I found those rubber boots. Even if I had to cut the tops. Wider would have been nice, too, but at a size 12 men’s, I could at least get my feet in them. 😀

So, there is definitely a reason the south fence posts are not doing very well.

When we first tried moving on the driveway side of this fence, there was a really rough area along the fence line that we couldn’t use the riding mower on without risking damage (now that we’ve got a working push mower, I should be able to get in there). When I asked my brother about it, he said it was a drainage ditch.

Hhhmm. It looks like someone took a tiller along the fence line. Not much of a ditch at all.

At the end of the fence, there is an actual trench leading to the ditch along the road; deep enough that I’ve had to make a “bridge” to cross it with the riding mower when I used it to drag the top of a tree away.

The posts in the south fence are all rotting on the bottom, and some are only being held up by the barbed wire they are supposed to be holding. Even the ones that are still holding out, I could probably break them out of the ground easily.

What we’ll have to decide on is whether or not we should dig a better drainage ditch along this fence. I want to get rid of it completely, but we might not do that for some time. At the very least, I’ll probably take out the two bottom strands of barbed wire, so I can duck through the fence more easily, but the top one is holding the power cable. Having an outlet on the east fence is very useful, and not just for the lights. I’d like to bury the line instead but, as you can see, if I bury it along the current fence line, it’ll end up having water over it. Yeah, I’d make sure to run it through protective tubing, but still… water and electricity don’t mix! Plus, we might decide to run it through a different location, instead, so I don’t want to do anything as relatively permanent as burying it just yet.

Today is supposed to be another warm one. At this rate, I’ll be able to start accessing the barn easily in just a day or two. That will be a big help in getting the new part basement cleared out of stuff!

Looking forward to it. 🙂

The Re-Farmer