Evening walkabout and… that makes six

Well, today’s trip into the city turned out to be decidedly unpleasant.

We usually plan the order of stores we go to around whether or not we’re getting fresh or frozen food. Which means Walmart is usually the first stop (after having breakfast or lunch somewhere) and Costco the last. Today, our first stop was actually a pet store to get some long overdue filters for the fish tank. It’s near the Walmart we usually go to, but when we got there and saw the line outside the door, we turned around and left. Walmart lines just don’t seem to move and, after the long drive and having lunch in the van, I needed a bathroom!

The search for one that was open to the public was not a good start to the day. We ended up going to a chain grocery store location we’d never been to before. It had a line, too, but it was a small one and it was moving fairly quickly.

You know those arrows they have on the floors now? At first, I thought that was a great idea.

I was wrong.

Very wrong.

My daughter and I split up, each with our own cart because they use the carts to keep track of how many people are in the store, so she could pick up some needed items and I found and used the public washrooms. As we tried to reconnect, I found that the arrows forced people to all go from one side of the store to the other. We wanted to go back to the produce section, but there were only arrows pointing out. After a while, with no customers around anyhow, I just went in. My daughter saw an employee and, indicating the arrows, asked “how do we get back to the produce section?”

“You don’t,” she was told.

!!!

She did eventually say that, if there was no one around, to go ahead in, so my daughter soon caught up to me.

I was really glad to get out of there.

We ended up going to the Costco next – it had a very long line outside, but it moved very quickly – and it now has those arrows on the floor, too. Not in all the aisles, though, and some had arrows only at one end of an aisle. We ended up using two carts, with all the big, heavy stuff that would not be unloaded at the cash desk in one cart, and the smaller stuff in the other. Both ended up very full and heavy.

Then it was time to get into the one line from which staff directed people to different cash desks. I spotted the end of the line, and we had to wrestle our carts back and forth through several aisles to reach it. We got there just ahead of an old guy who was coming straight up the main aisle. The next thing I know, an employee is telling me we have to go behind the old guy. Apparently, he complained that we’d cut him off or something. Whatever. My daughter and I had to wrestle the carts around to get behind him, only to have the guy in front of us make some snarky comments about keeping our distance. We hadn’t actually gone nearer to him, so I thought maybe he meant between myself and my daughter. A little while later, though, he snapped an an employee for getting too close. An employee that had to make her way through the line. An employee wearing mask and gloves, and carrying a spray bottle of sanitizer. The old guy was probably more of a danger to her, than the other way around!

What is it about some people that think they are entitled to be nasty to people and get away with it, just because they’re old? I came very close to just abandoning our carts and going home! It was a decidedly unpleasant experience, overall.

After we were done there, we made one last attempt to go to a Walmart. On seeing the line, we just kept right on going and headed home. Most of what we wanted to get there, we should be able to get locally. Not all, though.

Unfortunately, the entire trip left me feeling ticked off for hours, so I decided to head outside while there was still enough light out and do a walkabout. I headed through the barn, into the old hay yard, to check out the pond that is there. The last couple of springs, there was only a small amount of water in there, but this year, it is nice and full. I decided to keep going through the area behind the barn and check out the bigger pond. Along the way, I noticed some new fallen trees and branches. The area is littered with dead trees. 😦

For the last couple of years, this pond has had almost no water in it at all. This is how it looks now!

It is completely full! Even the lower area at one end that meanders through the pasture has water in it! After the drought of the last couple of years, and especially the horrible spring, this is very encouraging.

Potato Beetle, Butterscotch and Creamsicle followed me the entire time, and I got some pictures of Creamsicle playing on the remains of an old boat.

Also… that’s the remains of an old boat. When did that get there? How long has it been there? How have I missed seeing it there? Okay, that last part, I know the answer to. We’d gone through here at a time of year when the grass was very tall, just before the renter rotated his cows into the quarter section we’re on. So this would have been completely hidden by tall grass.

Since I was out here, I decided to head towards the field where the renter planted corn last year. Since moving here, we just never went beyond this pond, so I figured tonight was a nice night for it.

As I got closer, though, all I could feel was dismay.

I found another junk pile.

Why? Why is this here? Who dumped stuff here, instead of taking it to the landfill?

Also… is that what I think it is?

No way!!

Another toilet.

That makes six toilets we’ve found since moving here. Only one of which could be attributed to the bathroom in the house, where the original toilet got switched out for a higher, more accessible one, as part of the changes made to the house as my father’s mobility decreased. Which means people went out of their way to bring toilets out here and dumping them.

Along with so much junk.

This, however, gave me an answer as to who brought this stuff here.

I remember this concrete filled oil drums. Years ago, my parents had bought what they hoped would be an investment property in the “downtown” of our little hamlet. The place used to be a general store. In the back, there had been a shed sitting on top of these barrels, making it high enough that delivery trucks could back up to it and unload easily. When my parents gave up trying to rent the place out, after years of horrid renters that cost them thousands in damages, we ended up living there for a while. The shed was long since gone, but these barrels were still there, tipped over on the concrete pad that had been under them. My daughters still remember playing among these barrels.

After we moved out of province, my late brother cleaned up at area, taking away the barrels and breaking up the concrete pad. That pile of broken concrete would be the remains of that.

What I don’t understand is, why did he drag it all here, instead of to the landfill?

And this is junk the renter’s cows now graze around, too. 😦

As disappointing as it was to find this, I did find something else that delighted me.

We have a creek with actual flowing water!

Now, as I grew up here, I somehow never seemed to have gone into this area before. I have no memory of it. I knew there was a low area here – it is even visible on satellite maps of the farm. It’s part of the municipal drainage system which, in this case, took advantage of a natural marsh system. I knew it got wet and muddy along this way, too. I remember going with my mother into the trees to a hazelnut bush she new of, to gather nuts, and losing my shoe in the mud.

And yet, I never, ever, saw it as an actual creek with fast flowing water! It was always more like a bit of a ditch, or a marsh, of either standing water or much.

I’m still blown away! I ended up following it all the way to the road. Then I continued to the old gravel pit area. I was eager to see how much water was there, too.

I found this along the way.

Actually, I found three of them, not far from each other. These are cow sized vertebra! They weren’t here last year, either.

Then I reached the old gravel pit area.

I don’t remember ever seeing it this full of water before – and my late brother and I used to play in it.

Which, now that I think about it, is rather gross. The pond that formed where my father dug out the gravel pit became a watering hole for the cattle.

I must have anti-bodies to all sorts of things because of the things I used to play in as a child! πŸ˜€

The marshy area at one end of the pond extends to the pond in the very first picture of this post. It is also near the car graveyard, which I decided to go through.

The cows eating down so much grass last year meant I could see quite a few things more easily. Including this.

It’s really hard to tell, as rotted away and covered with grass as it is, but I believe this is the remains of an old sledge or wooden trailer. Possibly a stone boat.

I also think it might actually be upside down.

One my way back to the barn, I also paused to check out a shed near the barn that’s still standing – next to another building that collapsed many years ago. I’ve gone into it before but, after living here for a couple of years, I am looking at things with new eyes. And today, those new eyes spotted something else to be excited about.

A lovely stack of boards, leaning against a wall. They’re pretty old, to be sure, but they are clean and dry, and may be exactly what I need for some projects I have in mind. There was also what looks like a full package of asphalt shingles.

We can use this stuff!

At some point, I think I will move the wood into the new part basement, along with anything else of value or use in there. This old shed has some huge holes in the roof, and I could see through the back wall. I’d rather not loose useful stuff to a collapsed roof.

I’m glad I took this walkabout. It was just what I needed after such an unpleasant trip to the city!

And now, I am going to give myself a thorough check before bed. I’ve found two wood ticks crawling on me since I started writing this, and now my entire body is feeling creepy crawly!

πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties and night time views

Gotta check out the little ones!

That tiny little nose peeking out from under an orange kitten is just hilarious. Beep Beep’s kittens have clearly had no problem absorbing Butterscotch’s baby into their creche! πŸ˜€

With the more pleasant conditions out, I will be starting to do my evening rounds again. Last night was quite beautiful.

There was also a cacophony of noise! Frogs croaking, birds hooting, honking, cooing, chirping and squawking, and the occasional cat meowing. Some nights we have coyotes yipping, but not last night. I did, however, start hearing the strangest screeching noise, coming from the direction of the old garden. When it didn’t stop, I went to see what small animal was being attacked.

It turned out to be skunks.

They make some of the oddest noises, but it was the first time I’d heard them actually scream like this! There were two of them, and one of them was just standing there, screeching and screaming away until it saw me and took off. πŸ˜€

Well, it’s coming up on time to head to the city for our big shop. We have our usual list of different stores to go to for different things, and I’ve heard that some have started to limit how many people per household can come in to only one person. Which is such an arbitrary restriction. But then, so much of the shut down has been pretty arbitrary. I was told about the increased restrictions in some places by the woman who was in the waiting room at the hospital with me. She said she had tried to go shopping with her husband, but one of the stores wouldn’t let both of them in. She, however, has a medical condition that affects her balance and, while she walked with a cane, she could fall at any time with no warning. Having her husband with her was a matter of medical safety. They ended up going some place else. That was a couple of weeks ago, though, and just the one store, so we’ll see how it is with the ones we need to go to.

I’ll just be happy if I can get everything on our list, and not have to go from store to store to store to find toilet paper. That, at least, has started to consistently show up on the shelves locally.

We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

More garden bed progress – and an experiment

Today, while the girls worked on the replacement sun room door, I was able to get some progress what will be a new garden bed.

I normally like to take lots of before and after pictures, but today, I decided to experiment. I have a little Gorilla Pod with a phone holder, so I set it up to take time lapse images every 60 seconds. I ended up taking 3 sets of them, then put them together in a little video. This is the result. I hope you like it!

I started with the camera set up in a tree facing the house, but the girls don’t like having their images posted online, so when they started working outside on the door, I moved it to another location.

With images every minute, it actually missed some of the surprisingly large roots I dug out. At one point, I was fighting over a mass of roots that just didn’t want to budge. They were the remains of a group of cherry trees, some live, some not, growing through a couple of pallets that I cleared out last year. After she finished painting the door, my daughter came and helped me get it out. That thing was a beast to get rid of!

There were a few times when I tried to pull up some roots – especially the large spruce roots – but could only get so far. After removing enough soil, I would find that they were being held down by cherry roots growing across them. I would have to dig those out first, then I could pull out the ones I’d started with.

I ended up having to stop long before I was done (I would say it’s a bit more than half done right now), simply because it was getting too hot! Which is an amazing thing to say considering that, depending on whether I am looking at the weather app on my phone, or on my desktop, we’ve reached our high of either 14C (57F) or 11C (52F) out there right now. Which, in the summer, would be considered cooler! πŸ˜€

We’re not going to get all the roots out. There are just too many, and lots are quite small. As long as we can get the soil clear enough that the carrots will be able to grow straight, that’s good enough for our first year.

When we had the chance, my daughter and I talked about building raised beds at some point. I do want to do this, but when we do, these will be tall raised beds, for accessibility. So once built, they will be pretty much permanent, and we’ll have to keep that in mind when deciding where to put them. We’ll see how things go this year, as the first year we’re able to plant any gardens at all.

Interestingly, while talking to my mother as I drove her back from the hospital, she started telling me that, if she were still at the farm and my dad were still around and able to help, she would fill the area where the old garden was with trees. Which is a complete change from when we first moved here, and she kept saying we needed to plow it and plant it and garden right away, and was very upset when didn’t do that, no matter how much I explained other things were higher priority. Anyhow, I told her that planting trees there is exactly what we would like to do, and told her (again) about our wanting to plant a nut orchard and fruit trees. So she started telling me that we have to prepare the area before we start buying trees, and how I should be doing that, because once the trees come in, they need to be planted right away! πŸ˜€ I assured her that yes, that is exactly what we plan to do, and will be starting to do this year. I reminded her that one of the things we were planning to do this year was plant the giant sunflowers that are tall enough to act as a wind break, so we’ll have seed heads for the birds over the winter. She told me that they had tried planting sunflowers too (I even remember them), but that the birds would eat all the seeds before they even ripened. That is, indeed, something we will have to plan for, though I do remember eating sunflower seeds that we’d grown, so at least some of the seed heads made it to harvest!

Speaking of seeds, I’m happy to say that some summer squash seeds have started to sprout, so I’ve taken the cover off the second planting tray in the sun room. They seem to like the warmth in there! Even overnight, the temperatures have been holding out well enough that I have not put them into the mini-greenhouse in the evenings.

As for the garden plot I’m working on now, it’s going to be at least a couple of days before we can get back to it. Tomorrow, we will be heading into the city for our big shop, and on Friday, we’re expected to have thunderstorms. If I can, I’ll try and get a bit more work in there, but it’s unlikely we’ll have a chance to do that before Saturday.

It’s slower going than I’d hoped, but good progress has been made.

The Re-Farmer

New garden bed progress

I will soon be heading out to continue working on the new garden bed, but first I wanted to share the progress my daughters did yesterday, while I was away.

This is turning out to be a pretty big job! You can see the pile of roots that they added to. They also set some things aside, because they knew I would want to check them out!

The group of thick roots are all from a single root. While the tree whose stump it came from has been dead for a long time, and the roots were rotting enough to break apart, it still look them quite a bit of effort to get it out. Especially with having to make do with what tools they could find.

That really long root is a cherry root that took both of them to yank out of the ground. I would not be surprised to find more like this as we continue to clear the area.

Also…

This was found buried near a different stump. Where it was found is where there was a makeshift pallet fence, a roll of old carpet, and a bunch of other junk. It was deep enough in the soil that I missed it entirely last year, even as I was digging around to get out as many pieces of rotten pallet wood as I could find.

I hope to get this area done quickly, so we can plant things that don’t have to wait until after last frost, but with how many roots we’ve been finding so far, I am thinking it won’t be that quick at all! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

My new toy

After bringing my mother home from the hospital yesterday (I called her this morning and she is doing well today, and did not have any episodes during the night), I’d gone to the hardware store in her town to pick up the paint we needed to finish the replacement door for the sun room.

I also got myself a new toy.

Since I am cutting so many slices from the lilac wood, and plan to do more with maple and cherry that I’ve set aside. I even have a couple more branches of lilac waiting outside, so I decided it was worth the splurge. With the kittens in the basement, I’m not as comfortable using loud power tools. I have hand saws that are done the job, but when I saw this saw – and its affordable price – I went for it.

This is a fine toothed, fine bladed pull saw. I hoped that it would cut more smoothly than the saws I was already using, so of course I had to test it out.

On the left are the round slices I’d cut using a regular carpenter saw, which is what I had that worked the best at the time. To the right are slices I cut using the new saw, in the miter box at 45 degrees. None of these have been sanded.

It’s hard to see, but the cut edges with the new saw are smoother than the other ones. They also didn’t leave that jagged edge that sometimes happens at the very end of a cut. The larger saw also left occasional black marks that need to be sanded away. So, right off the top, the new saw will save me on sand paper. I also splurged on sheets of sand paper in grits starting at 50, up to 220. The slices I cut with the old saw needed that 50 grit, but the new slices don’t need to be started with such coarse sandpaper.

There were a couple of other benefits I noticed. The sawing itself is quieter, which means less noise to disturb the babies nearby. It cuts faster, and with less vibration, so things are not being shaken off the shelf on the work table quite as much. πŸ˜€

The blade is so much thinner, there is less loss of wood as sawdust, and it’s easier to cut thinner pieces. However, this also means the blade bends more easily. Since it’s shorter than the other saw, I had to take greater care while sawing in the miter box, as the blade would sometimes bend and hit the inside of the miter box rather than go through the slot. After a while, because the piece of wood I was working on was wonky in shape, I started to use the miter box just to start a cut, then take it out and hold it in my hand to finish the cut. After a while, I didn’t even do that, and just eyeballed the angle and started it without a guide. I don’t know that I would have been able to do that with the other saw. Previously, I’d used the vice to hold the wood, but this branch had too many bends in it for the vice to be able to grip it.

As before, I use the last 3 1/2 inches of the branch to make lengthwise cuts in the miter box, and found an unexpected problem. Cutting the wood lengthwise resulted in sawdust clogging the teeth very quickly. I kept having to pull the blade out, remove the sawdust in the teeth, then make a few more passes before I had to do it again. So while cross cutting went faster than when using the other saw, cutting lengthwise took longer.

Of the branch I brought downstairs, I’ve now cut the two thickest sections into pieces. There are more smaller branches I’d taken off to work on later. I’m still thinking of what to make with the pieces I’ve already cut, but the smaller pieces will be of a size and weight suitable for earrings, so I know I will be making at least a few of those.

My new toy will make it much faster and smoother to cut the pieces to size. I hadn’t planned on getting a new saw, just for this project, but now that I have, I’m already glad I did. Definitely worth it.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

Some fluffy little worms to brighten your day!

One of the orange babies still has its eyes closed. The other had one eye open, one eye… almost open. πŸ˜€

They have also reached that stage where they do the little hissing and trying to spit thing. πŸ™‚ Beep Beep, however, was more than comfortable with my handling them.

As I head into the basement, there is typically a whole bunch of cats coming over, very curious to see what’s down there. Today, I let Two Face down. Since we will eventually be moving the litter boxes and food and water bowls to the basement, I figured it would be good to start introducing them. Two Face is the most recent yard cat to come into the house, so I figured she would be the one Beep Beep is the most likely to remember. Plus, Beep Beep is her mom.

They did snuffle each other a bit, but mostly, Two Face just wandered around, sniffing at things. She completely ignored the babies, even though she snuffled around their little cave under the chair, and gave Beep Beep an astonished stare down when she discovered her under there. πŸ˜€

I brought Two Face back up with me when I was done, and I think she was happy with that. It’s still too new and strange down there! Next time, I think I’ll bring Susan down. She is another one of Beep Beep’s babies, and likely still familiar.

It would be good if we can leave this basement door open in the summer. Last year, we were able to use grid wall to block off the old basement door and leave it open, to help cool the house down. It works better to have both basement doors open and, this year, we can do that. We’ll still need to block off the entry to the old basement from cats, but I think this time, we’ll be able to make another mesh “door” to fit, rather than rigging up the grid wall again.

It’ll be a couple of months before we need to do that, though, so plenty of time to build something to fit.

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: Maritime Gardening

Welcome to my β€œRecommended” series of posts. These will be weekly – for now – posts about resources I have found over the past while that I found so excellent, I want to share them with you, my dear readers. πŸ™‚ Whether or not I continue to post these, and how often they are posted, will depend on feedback. Please feel free to comment below, and if you have a favorite resource of your own, do share, and I will review them for possible future posts.

I hope you find these recommendations as useful and enjoyable as I have!

You’d think that, having grown up on this farm and with my family being subsistence farmers, I would already know how to garden here. And I guess I do, really. The thing is, I want to do things differently than my parents did. Some simple things, like trellising, which my parents never did. One of my jobs as a kid was to flip the rows of pea plants, so the sun could get at the other side. We also want to grow new things I have no experience in, use no-till methods my parents never used, and eventually have raised beds.

So basically, I’m learning how to garden, all over again.

Part of this learning curve is figuring out how to grow what we want in our climate zone, which is a zone 3. It takes extra measures to produce food in our short growing season. We can’t even take advantage of any urban heat island effects.

With that in mind, I have been looking up resources for cold climate gardening. In my searches, I have found many sites and YouTube channels dedicated to cold climate gardening. How wonderful, I would think, as I eagerly began to explore them.

Right up until I discovered that these “cold climate” gardeners were in…

Zone 5.

Really?

Just about everything I look at that I’m interested in growing is rated to zone 5. How is zone 5 considered a cold climate?

Okay, okay. I realize that these sites are almost all based in the US, and northern states are rightfully considered cold climates compared to the southern states. But I’m in frikkin’ central Canada. To us, zone 5 is almost tropical. πŸ˜€

All joking aside, it did make my searches frustrating. It turns out there just aren’t a lot of active Canadian gardening resources out there.

So I was pretty excited to find Maritime Gardening.

Maritime Gardening is run by Greg Auton, in Nova Scotia. It’s basically one person and 2,500 square feet of back yard garden! He’s been making these videos since 2016.

The only down side?

It’s still a zone 5 climate region… but it’s far closer to our situation than anything else I’ve found! There are lots of videos on how to lengthen the outdoor growing season, like getting the soil to thaw out faster, or dealing with high winds.

There are also a lot of videos on specific crops, such as garlic, onions, potatoes, and strawberries, and techniques, such as no-till gardening, using cold frames, different types of mulches, and so on.

There are videos on planning out your garden spaces, dealing with weeds and insect problems, saving seeds, harvesting and preserving.

There are even cooking videos, fermentation videos, videos on how to make tool handles, and so much more.

There is just SO much to learn from here! I highly recommend this channel as a resource.

Especially if you’re a frozen Canadian. πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Those plans went out the window…

Today started out normal enough. I did my rounds, as usual, including checking on the kittens.

Beep Beep is getting more comfortable with leaving them to sleep while she gets some needed sustenance – and some cuddles! πŸ™‚

I was just settling down to upload the trail cam files when I got a phone call from my mother.

For quite some time now, she’s been complaining about her heart. Chest pains. Not getting any air. It’s been very confusing. Partly because test after test has shown her heart is in great shape. No one has been able to find anything wrong. The other part is, her descriptions are rather lacking in details. She’ll talk about how her heart is bothering her so much, but then start talking about not having any air at night, and has to turn on a fan or open a window. But it’s her heart. It is made more difficult for her to explain, when she has a very poor grasp of anatomy.

The more detail we manage to wrestle out of her, the more we’re thinking it’s a problem with her lungs. What makes it even more difficult is that her symptoms only seem to happen when she’s lying down in bed. When she’s up and about, they go away.

This morning, I could hear in her voice right away, that something was wrong. She started talking about how much her heart was bothering her, then talking about not being able to breath. Her night was bad enough to scare her, and she was wondering what to do.

Normally, I’d just take her to the clinic. The clinic her new doctor is in has walk in, but it’s also located in a hospital, so there’s an emergency just down the hall.

But we’re in shut down right now, and with all the scary stuff she’s seeing on TV about the Wuhan virus, she’s also worried that her breathing problems are related to that.

Which is theoretically possible. Even though her building is in lock down, people do still have to go in and out. It was very unlikely, but still something that would probably check.

Also, her doctor’s clinic is doing most appointments only by phone right now.

Now, there is a hospital just a few blocks from her place. I suggested she go to the emergency there, but neither of us were sure there still was an emergency room. The building is now more of a nursing home with a clinic in it. She had even tried the health link number, which is for all the province, but only got a message saying they were busy. What else was in the message, I don’t know, since she would not have finished listening to it.

So I suggested she try to get to the emergency we thought might be near her, and to do that, she would first call the social worker assigned to her building. The social worker would have the phone numbers she needed. While she was doing that, I got online and tried to find the numbers to call myself.

Well, that turned out to be useless. I called the hospital number and got an long recorded message saying, “if this, call here, if that, call there, if something else, do this”. Even I was loosing track of it all. My mother would have been completely lost. From the website, it sounded like they wanted people to go use drive through testing centres for the Wuhan virus, rather than go to any hospitals.

I finally ended up calling the clinic near my mother. My mother used to go there, before switching to where her current doctor is. After talking to them for a bit, I was told to call this other clinic. So I did.

They told me to call the hospital near my mother’s place.

*sigh*

I explained to her that I’d tried that and just got a recorded message telling me to call other places. I ended up being transferred from the clinic to the hospital it was in, with instructions to ask to be transferred to the hospital in my mother’s town. When I explained the situation to the new person I spoke to, she was stunned that I only got a recorded message. So she put me on hold and called herself.

It turns out that, at the very end of the message, there was one last instruction to hit 0 to get the nurse’s desk. I must have hung up before that last bit at the end, because I never heard it.

Then she told me, “you know that hospital doesn’t really have an emergency room anymore, right?”

Well, now I do!

Basically, if she went there, they would assess her, then send her someplace else.

After explaining the situation to her, she suggested I bring my mother to this hospital, then gave me instructions on which entrance to go to.

So I called my mom back. She had just called the hospital by her place and told me they booked a telephone appointment for her with her new doctor.

For 3:30pm

It was coming up on 10am, as we were talking.

I told her about my calls, and gave her the choice. In the end, she decided she had better get checked.

So off I went to pick her up and take her to the emergency at this other hospital with an fully functioning emergency.

I’ve taken her here before, but a few things have changed since the shut down started. Instead of going straight to the desk to be checked in, there was a lady at a table facing the entrance. She was wearing a mask, gloves and gown. In front of her were posts like used on highway construction areas, with yellow caution tape between them, plus a hand sanitizer station. On the table was a stack of masks.

She asked us a few questions about why we were there, and if my mother had other cold-like symptoms or had been traveling out of the country within the last 14 days.

Once that was cleared up, she asked us to use the hand sanitizer, then my mother was allowed to the check in desk.

I was not.

There was a small waiting room I could go to, though, and it was a good thing I was handy. My mother, being scared of the virus, was talking about getting tested for it, and the staff were all “why weren’t you given a mask?” They had to come to me to clarify. Then a few moments later, the woman we first talked to came to me and asked if my mother had a history of dementia. I carefully (and quietly!) explained the situation with her, so that helped them understand a bit more on how to address her. Meanwhile, I could hear them trying to explain to her that, because she doesn’t have the symptoms, they would not be testing her for the Wuhan virus, eventually mollifying her by saying they would make that decision as she gets checked. Then she was sent to the emergency room waiting room, and I could hear no more.

Then I waited.

And waited.

Which was fine with me. I got to update my family, and had a nice chat with a woman who ended up waiting in the room with me, because she wasn’t allowed in with her husband, either. The only exceptions I saw was an elderly couple, with the husband pushing his wife in her wheelchair, and another guy with his very elderly father, and both times they were clearly expected for specific things, not an emergency room visit for something unknown, like my mother. The place was surprisingly busy, all things considered.

Then my mom came out, and that was it. We were done.

Once I got her in the van, she was able to tell me that…

…they found nothing wrong with her.

She is, understandably, frustrated.

They did take X-rays of her lungs, but will only call her if there is something found.

Long story short, I suggested waiting a few days for the X-rays to be looked at, and if she doesn’t get a call, to book an appointment with her doctor to talk about her breathing issues.

It took a lot of questioning, but I eventually got out of her that she’s had this issue for probably about 10 years, but that it’s gotten noticeably worse, recently. Which eliminated one possibility that I was thinking of, in that there was some sort of air circulation problem in her tiny apartment. Ten years ago, she was still living here at the farm. She brought up asthma, but the more I described the symptoms, the less she thought that might be the cause. She had also brought up her thyroid, but that was only because a friend she talked to on the phone takes medication for her thyroid and suggested it. I had to explain to her that a thyroid was a gland we all have, not a disease. I know people with both hypo- and hyper- thyroidism and was able to explain more about that to her. I had brought up in the past that sleeping in a more upright position might help, and maybe getting a sleep chair, and she’s starting to think that might be a good idea. She doesn’t want something with “buttons” on it (a remote), so she’s just thinking of a recliner with a lever. Sleep chairs are designed for actual sleeping on and would be much better, but are very expensive. So it might be worth trying a recliner and seeing if it makes a difference.

It wasn’t until just before I left that she mentioned something that had me thinking that she might have sleep apnea.

Whether or not she does, a sleep test would probably be a good thing to get done, but with all non-essential and elective health care not being done right now, it’s not like that is going to happen. Especially since there are already months long waiting lists for these tests, at the best of times.

At least my mother was feeling better by the time I got her home, but I can really understand her feelings about them not finding anything wrong with her.

It was late afternoon by the time we were done, but I was still able to get some things checked off on my to-do list. Her town has a hardware store, so I was able to go there to get the paint we need to finish the sun room door, plus a few other things. After messaging with my daughters, I ended up swinging by home to drop the stuff off and pick up a daughter, then we went into town for a few errands, before picking up some take-out food.

Oh, was that ever good. πŸ˜€

My daughters, meanwhile, did get some work done on the future garden plot, but that will be a post for another time! πŸ˜€

For now, I’m just happy my mom’s okay, and to be home.

The Re-Farmer

Progress: sun room door and garden stuff

I got a little reminder today, of why I need to start using the sun room as a greenhouse.

The cats have already knocked the mini-greenhouse over once, and despite our best efforts at making sure the bottom of the plastic is pushed under the frame, the cats are determined to get in. Especially Susan! They’ve even clawed a hole in the plastic at one corner. As adorable as she was, taking a nap half in and half out, this is just not a good thing. 😦

The first order of business was to measure and cut the door down to size. We did remember to remove the hinges first, though. πŸ˜‰

I’m so excited. I got to use the chalk line we found in the basement to mark where I needed to cut! πŸ™‚

I also got to use the circular saw that was gifted to use last year. I’ve never actually used one before. With so many older brothers, I didn’t get to use a lot of the tools we had. Still, it’s pretty self explanatory.

I am, however, a lefty.

It wasn’t the straightest of cuts, but that’s okay!

When we put the hinges back on, we’ll make sure to line them up with the existing spaces on the door frame.

Speaking of which…

The door knobs on the replacement door turned out to be about half an inch off from the old door. So, while the girls scrubbed and cleaned the door, I removed the plate from the door frame, then measured off where it needed to be moved to. After a bit of hunting, I found a chisel and prepped the new location for the plate.

I won’t put the plate back on until the door is installed, in case I have to make any adjustments.

I also moved my seedling trays into the sun room.

The sun room has been reaching more than 20C (68F) during the day. It’s the night time temperature that concerns me a bit, which is why I also moved the mini-greenhouse in. The plastic cover will help keep heat in a bit, so the trays can be moved into there before it gets too chilly.

All clean! This is the outside of the door. It’s not in the best of shape, but it’s better than the old one, and will do just fine.

While it was drying, I decided to check out the future garden space where the old wood pile used to be. I figured I would use the potato fork and see how the soil is, where we covered it with black plastic.

The soil is amazing! The tines of the fork sank all the way into the soil. No ice in there at all, and it is so soft. It will be perfect for the beets and carrots we plan to plant there.

Except…

It’s also full of roots. You can see the dark pile to the side in the above photo; those are the cherry roots I’ve pulled up so far.

The area is just cris-crossed with cherry roots that we will need to dig out. I was also finding pieces of rotten pallet wood I’d missed last year, and some huge roots from the old spruce stumps nearby. We’ll need axes or saws to get those out.

Hopefully, the girls will be able to give me a hand and we’ll get this entire area free of roots tomorrow. Beets are supposed to be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, so as soon as we get it cleared, we can get those started. The ground is so soft that, when it comes time to plant, I’ll have to make sure to put boards between the rows to walk on, so I don’t sink. !!

That reminds me. I got a notice today that my soil tester and garden auger have been shipped and should arrive on Friday. The soil tester measures temperature, moisture and PH levels. The auger is a drill attachment, and we won’t need that until we’re ready to plant in the old garden area, probably in late May.

While I was working on this, my daughter came out with a respirator and a can of spray paint.

This is the same blue we used on the driveway gate. πŸ™‚ It took an entire can to do two coats on this side.

Then, because it looked like it was going to rain, we made space in the sun room and brought the saw horses and door in to finish curing.

Tomorrow, we would normally head into the city for a big shop. Talking to the girls about it, we decided to wait a couple of days. Instead, I’ll go into town and pick up some more paint, so we can do the other side of the door.

Plus, takeout food. I am just dying for some takeout. πŸ˜€ I have no idea where; the Chinese restaurant we normally go to is closed on Tuesdays, and the pizza place we order from doesn’t open until 4 pm.

There is, however, that fish and chips place that opened their summer time take-out window early, so they could stay open during the shut down. They’ve got the best pollock and fries I’ve ever tasted – and I don’t particularly like fish and chips in the first place! πŸ˜€

Oh, wow. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about it…

So tomorrow, we should be able to go the other side of the door, and get that garden area de-rooted.

The Re-Farmer

Taking “finding strange things” to a whole new level

While doing my morning rounds, I decided to go into a couple of the sheds and look around.

The first one is among those that is falling apart and really needs to be torn down. There are many holes in the roof, so the dirt floor is quite wet and muddy inside.

We would need to go through its contents and figure out what to do with them. We can’t tear it down yet, because that will leave a gap in the fence into the hay yard, and the renter’s cows go into there. I want to change where the fence is, eventually, so I don’t want to put in new fence. It will stay there for probably a few more years. If it doesn’t collapse, first.

I’ve been in here several times, but didn’t really look closely at the pile of stuff in the corner. I might have noticed this before, but it feels like I’m seeing it for the first time. I’ve tried to outline it and make it stand out better, so you can see it, too.

This is a small plow. I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be pulled with a horse.

When my dad bought the property, he upgraded to tractors, but a horse and her foal came with the farm. No horse drawn plow has been used here in something like 50-60 years.

This is definitely a keeper.

There’s also an object near it; you can see the metal wheel and a gear near the front of the plow. I can’t see it well enough to even guess what it is. It should be interesting when we finally get to cleaning up that corner, and finally see all of it.

I next went into the side shed of the garage and moved the snow blowers to the back and lawn mowers to the front. There is a shelf against the back wall that seems to be tipping more and more. Thankfully, there is lots of stuff in front of it, so it can’t actually fall over.

While looking in it, I noticed this box.

Cool! That would be so awesome, if there were an actual angle grinder in the angle grinder box.

Of course, I know by now that the likelihood of that is very low.

Even so, this has got to be top of the list of weird things we’ve been finding.

Yes. Those are teeth.

Human teeth.

I’m pretty sure they are real teeth. You can see that one molar has cavity holes in it.

Judging from the adhesive on many of the plastic pieces, it looks like quite a few have fallen off. The bottom of this box is likely covered with loose teeth.

Now, I can probably imagine how these were acquired. My late brother did demolitions, and this was one of his workshops here at the farm. When tearing down buildings, he often found unusual things, and was able to bring home some things that would otherwise have ended up in the landfill. Many were quite usable. For example, he tore down old restaurants, and we still have commercial quality table cloths he’d found, and my favourite cutlery is from one of those demos. It’s amazing what gets left behind in places. He likely was doing a demolition of a place that once had a denturist or something in it.

However they were found, the questions remain: why keep them? Why leave them in this shed? What was the plan for these?

As we find keep finding odd things, I now keep them in mind for some future found object art pieces I plan to make and set up around the property.

These teeth will likely have a prominent part in this! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer