Forgot about that…

Yesterday, while working on the squash beds, I was thinking ahead to working on the beet and carrot beds today.

Braveheart (front) and Nostrildamus (rear) both allow me to pet them, and even skritch their ears now – but only after I’ve provided them with kibble in the morning!

Forgetting completely that today was our day to do our monthly shop.

Which turned out to be a good thing, since it also turned out to be a day of intermittent rain, so I wouldn’t have been able to get much done outside!

Rosencrantz (eating by herself) eagerly let me pet her this morning, but her babies and grand-baby won’t let me near them!

So my younger daughter and I made the trip into the city with our itinerary. It’s taken almost three years, but we’ve got the routine for ordinary stocking up down to a pretty efficient routine that also ensures the least amount of time for frozen and refrigerated items to be in the van. Ice packs and insulated bags are good only so far! We didn’t have any unusual things to get this time, so it was just breakfast (drive through, then eating in the parking lot) and the three regular stores we go to.

I was a bit concerned this time around, since the city’s “casedemic” resulted in mandatory masking, with fines, beginning rather arbitrarily two days ago. My views on the usefulness of masks aside, I really can’t wear one. (My daughter wears a home made cloth mask.) I’d heard some people had been given a hard time already. With medical exemptions, we should be able to just say we can’t wear one and that’s it. I’d heard that some people had letters from doctors demanded of them, which is ridiculous. For starters, as far as I know, doctors have been instructed not to give those out. Plus, it’s against PIPA to ask that information. Not all employees are told this, though, and some are are… shall we say… far more aggressive about it then they should be.

Thankfully, I had no reason to be concerned for the places we went to.

The first stop was Walmart, which is where we get some of our cat food. They have more flavours than Costco does, and we like to give the cats some variety. The last time we went there, there was someone at the entry that tried to offer me a mask, but was okay when I politely said I couldn’t wear one. This time, there was no one at that station at all. The sanitation station was still there, so I used some on my hands, but there wasn’t anyone at that station, either. Almost everyone in the store had masks, though I did see a few without. I might have gotten some startled looks from other customers, but with only half their faces visible, I’m not sure. :-/

The next store was a local international grocery store franchise that carries a few things we can’t find anywhere else. It’s also where we get our fresh produce in smaller-than-Costco quantities. This place has always been awesome. Aside from some signage, nothing had changed. I wasn’t really paying attention, but I think I only saw a couple of staff without masks, and that’s it.

The last stop was Costco. The last time we were there, there was someone at a booth offering masks. Again, there had been no issue with me saying I couldn’t wear one. Just a rather startled response. I think. Hard to tell behind the mask. In spite of all the booths, counters and cash registers being shielded, all the staff had to wear masks, though I did see a few face shields, instead.

Today, the woman in the booth with the masks, who had both mask and gloves on this time, immediately started using some kitchen tongs to pick up a surgical mask to offer me. I just told her “I can’t wear one, thanks”, and that was it. I think I saw maybe one or two other people without masks. I saw no staff wearing face shields this time.

In each place we went, things went smoothly. The only hitch was at Costco. The section where the toilet paper, facial tissues and paper towels usually are, was empty. Not a single product! Just a couple of pallets! I’d heard that people were starting to panic buy toilet paper again, but really? I wish I’d thought of it earlier and picked some up while we were at one of the other two stores. They had plenty of inventory. We have enough to last us a little longer, though. We’ll see if we have to make a second trip into the city later in the month. That partly depends on when we can get a plumber in to switch out the well pump, and how much that ends up costing.

Still, we managed to get pretty much everything we needed, and it was all nice and quick. No one gave me a hard time, which was greatly appreciated.

As we started heading out of the city, though, I did have to pull over and get my daughter to drive. My mystery pain in my side decided it was a good day to kick in. While shopping, I can use the cart as a walker, but it was getting difficult to sit up straight while driving.

The drive home saw us going through several downpours along with way, with wind gusts trying to push the van off the road. !! It sure felt good to get home – and to be restocked for at least most of the month, again.

Oh, I did have one splurge while at Walmart. I found and picked up a package of fermentation lids. I’ve never seen any other store with fermentation lids! These have a cap to fit a wide mouth jar, with a build in airlock and, instead of a fermentation weight, it has a spring to push things down.

Too bad we didn’t have these when we were pickling our squash! 🙂

I’m thinking maybe we should pick up another cabbage and try making small batch sauerkraut again. 🙂

Meanwhile, it looks like it will continue to be wet, chilly and unpleasant outside.

I think it’s time for a nice big pot of tea!

The Re-Farmer

Crab apple cider vinegar: straining day

After three weeks (and a day) the crab apple cider vinegar has been strained.

For those new to this blog, you can catch up on the process by clicking on the following links. Each should open in a new tab, so you won’t lose your place.

Part 1: getting started
Part 2: oops
Part 3: progress

While I have not been checking on them every day, I have been checking regularly, and the last I did, it they still looked like this.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I brought the jars over to strain them, and saw this.

Oh, dear.

Both jars appeared to have mold at the top.

Now, part of what we’re doing this year is seeing if there’s a difference using cheesecloth to cover the top, or an airlock. Theoretically, because the cheesecloth allows oxygen in and an airlock doesn’t, the one with the cheesecloth should have been worse.

When I opened them up, though, there really wasn’t much difference. They both looked like this.

Yeah. Gross.

It seems the glass weight I used was not large enough to keep all the apple pieces below the level of liquid. Why it was enough to do so for almost 3 weeks, I don’t know.

On taking out the glass weight, I found that the pieces still immersed looked fine.

After scooping out the pieces at the top, the ones below all looked fine. The photo on the left is the jar that had the airlock, the one on the right had the cheesecloth.

I see no difference at this point.

After straining the pieces out, I checked them, and everything still looked fine. It was only the very top pieces that showed mold.

Took keep the experiment going, I made sure to do each jar from start to finish separately, cleaning and sanitizing the jars (and the airlock with its lid) before pouring the baby vinegar back.

The vinegar on the left is from the airlock jar. The one on the right is the cheesecloth jar.

Again, I see no difference between them.

Both of them also resulted in 2L (about half a gallon) of baby vinegar. If I weren’t testing the two different tops, I would have poured it all back into just one jar.

One thing I noticed very quickly when straining them, is that they both have a surprisingly strong alcohol smell. A rather pleasant one! I might have a bit of hard cider going at the moment!

No, I didn’t taste them.

The question is, will the mold that was at the top be a concern? Will the continued fermentation – which is really just controlled decomposition – eliminate any potential problems?

There’s only one way to find out.

Back they go to the old kitchen, for another three weeks. Then it’s tasting time before deciding to let it ferment for longer or not.

These are supposed to stay out at room temperature. Room temperature in the old kitchen is a fair bit lower than the rest of the house – which isn’t particularly warm, either! When I brought the jars over to strain them, I used the temperature gun and they were both at 12C. If we were wanting to make an alcohol, that would be too cold, but is it too cold for a vinegar?

Well, we’ll see how it is in three weeks!

The Re-Farmer

Fall clean up: squash beds done

Yay! The squash beds in the old garden area are now all done.

Also, where the pumpkin mounds were, we now have three new beds.

Here is how it looked when I started.

The bamboo stakes are marking where I planted the seed potatoes I found while digging up the potato beds. It should be interesting to see what happens there in the spring!

Being such a narrow row, it shouldn’t have taken long to prep this area. It was, however, incredibly full of rocks. Not even big ones, really. Just so many! If we decide to continue planting here, this area would be the one most in need of a raised bed. If we do build a raised bed in this area, it’s going to be long, narrow (no more than 2 ft wide), and will have a built in trellis for a back “wall”.

Here is how the pumpkin mounds looked before I started.

The black that you see is the ashes cleaned out of the fire pit.

The crab grass growing through it is noticeably brighter!

Once done, here is how the back row looked.

It’s hard to see through the mulch, but I turned the soil and mulch, so the more decomposed mulch was more on top, and the less decomposed mulch was partially buried. I don’t know what we’ll plant here next year, but whatever it is, it’ll need to be pretty hardy, until we can build the soil up more!

Here is how the pumpkin mounds look now.

I was pretty sure about turning one of the mounds into a larger bed, but with so much crab grass, I didn’t think I would do the others. However, after a year covered in mulch, and a lot fewer rocks then in other areas, the soil was much softer than expected, and I ended up turning them all into larger beds. The one on the left had the least amount of grass and weeds to clean up, but it also had the most rocks that needed to be cleaned out! When I started on the middle mound, the soil was so much better than it had been, I went ahead and dug another bed, pulling up as many weed roots as I could. That went fairly easily with the crab grass. They took the easy route, and their rhizomes spread like a net under the mulch, rather than into the ground. Those come up quite easily.

Then I hit a patch of Creeping Charlie, making its way through the mulch. I lost about an inch or two of topsoil, pulling up those root mats. !!

The third bed was even easier to dig up, so that went very quickly.

So this area now has 6 beds in total, ready for next year. 🙂

The next area to prep will be the carrot and beet beds. I’ve been leaving them in the ground as long as possible. Which might be working for the carrots, but the beets are mostly a lost cause. Too many visits from deer! That area will be cleaned out and prepped for the winter garlic that should be coming in within the next couple of weeks.

I will leave that for tomorrow, however. Today, we need to strain the crab apple cider vinegar. We meant to do it yesterday, but so many things went sideways, it got postponed.

I am happy to say that the septic truck did show up yesterday, shortly before 6pm. The poor guy looked so tired! All I could say after greeting him was “long day?” I think he had been bracing himself to be given a hard time for being so late, because all the tension seemed to just droop out of his body as he simply said, “yeah.” He ended up spending half an hour on the tank. I honestly don’t know how my parents emptied the tank only once a year with 7 of us. We didn’t empty it this past spring, since we’d had him come out in the winter, when things started backing up into the basement. So it was more than 6 months since it was cleaned out, and it showed!

When we booked him to come in, I asked how much it would cost so I could take out cash; it’s not like these guys can take debit. 😉 I didn’t have exact change, but when it came time to pay, I didn’t ask for any, even when I confirmed the amount and he gave me a lower number! Maybe he was giving me a deal for being so late but I figure, if anyone deserves a tip, it’s the septic guy! If I’d had more to give him, I would have!

I really, really appreciate people like him. What would we do without people willing to do such dirty jobs?

Meanwhile, I have not heard back from the plumber. We’re getting near the point of having to call someone else. Our plumber knows this place and has been doing work here for many, many years, plus he’s really gone above and beyond for us, so I would rather not go with someone else. But we need to get that well pump changed. We should have done it months ago, but all our “spare” funds went to paying for the new differential on my mother’s car. If it does turn out to be something wrong in the well itself, we want to find that out now, not when there’s snow on the ground! We shall see how that pans out.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

It was nice to see one of the little kittens sharing food with the bigger kittens this morning.

An interesting thought.

Butterscotch (in the back) is mother to Rosencrantz, who is mother to Junk Pile who is mother to the three big kittens here. Which makes Butterscotch their great-grandmother.

Butterscotch is mother to Creamsicle Jr. there, which makes him brother to Rosencrantz, uncle to Junk Pile and great uncle to the kittens that now tower over him.

Cat genetics can get convoluted!

The Re-Farmer

Fall clean up: starting the squash beds, plus… this could be bad!

On my list of things to do today was to prep the squash beds for winter.

Of course, things happened, so I started much later than intended – past 2pm – and didn’t get as much done as I’d planned on.

Here is how it looked when I started.

The first thing I had done we pick up the bricks we’d used to weigh down the plastic we used to cover the beds in the spring, and again under some of the plants to protect the stems or support heavier squash.

You can really see which bed had the most successful plants!

Also, notice the raspberry canes to the left on the foreground? Or, should I say, the bare raspberry canes?

The deer have been nibbling the leaves off those, as well as the sunflowers!

I had brought out both the potato fork and the spade to see which would be better to work on the beds.

It turned out to be the fork. After a year under the mulch, the ground was a lot softer than before, but even with the fork, I had difficulties getting past the rocks. We have only one good spade. I don’t want to break the blade on a rock!

Here is how they looked when I finished for the day.

The bed on the left was still a real chore to dig up. With each section I lifted with the fork, I had to break up the soil by hand. That gave me the opportunity to pull out weed roots and the more in-the-way rocks. The bed on the right was much easier to work, and I had a lot fewer rocks that needed to be pulled out. The squash plants were also buried so they can compost directly into the soil.

I was really happy with how much easier the soil was to work with. To compare, I had pushed the spade into the ground next to the mulched area. After working for a while, I took off my jacket and hung it on the spade. A few minutes later, and a gust of wind turned my jacket into a sail and down it went. So I pushed it into the ground again, this time, standing on the foot supports and bouncing my ample weight on it a few times, then hung my jacket back on the handle. The next stiff breeze, and it fell over again! And I didn’t even hit and rocks when I was pushing in the spade! What a difference, working under the mulched squash beds. Not only was the ground much easier to work, I was finding SO many worms! What a great sign. 🙂

The next area I will dig up will be the long row at the back, and then the pumpkin hills in the middle. The one hill nearest the back row, I might enlarge to create another longer bed, but the other two are so surrounded with crab grass, I’m just going to dig up a roughly 4′ x 4′ area and pull out as many rhizomes from there as I can.

The main reason I had to stop, though, we because I started to feel rather unwell. It took a while for me to realize something.

I hadn’t eaten yet, other than a couple of freshly baked cookies, before I headed outside.

Usually, I do my morning rounds outside, then have breakfast while going over the trail cam files. Today, I was out earlier to make sure the gates were open for the septic truck. (Which still hasn’t shown up.) Then I heard someone in the kitchen and with our kitchen being so small, I decided to wait until they were done.

Then my husband came over and informed me we were almost out of butter. He is having a good pain day today for a change, and was up to making cookies, not realizing we didn’t have enough butter to make them. Normally, we would have done our monthly shop by now, and there would have been a whole bunch in the freezer, but we had to take care of other things. We’ll be going in a couple of days.

So I made a quick run into town to pick up a few things along with the butter. I’m glad I did, because once I had a data signal, I started getting texts from our plumber. I’d sent him pictures of our well pump when I was in town yesterday, as he requested, and he was responding to them


The first thing he noted was that the new pump is 1/2 hp, while the old pump is 3/4 hp. My brother bought this pump and he knows the system very well, so I knew it would work. It’s just not as powerful. After seeing the pictures of the old pump, from various angles, he thought the problem might be in the well itself. This is something my brother and I had talked about, as he thinks the foot valve might be leaking. The problem is, this is a very old system. He has actually worked in there before – about 20 years ago! – and that was probably the last time anyone has gone into the well.

So aside from it getting harder to find parts for it, it’s going to be fragile. If he starts opening things up to see what’s what, we might end up with no water at all. I could go to a company that specializes in wells, but they don’t like these old systems, either, and he said we would most likely be told we need a new well drilled. We could instead replace the submersible pump in the well, along with the pump in the basement, and that would take care of all sorts of potential problems down there. I asked him for an idea of what those pumps cost, but before he could get back to me, I had to leave town and head home, where I would no longer be able to get text messages. I sent him a message to phone me later and headed home.

Once at home, I emailed my brother to pass on the info, since he knows the system way better than I do. We both agreed that we should just get the pump in the basement switched to the new one, then see how it goes. If we still have problems, then it would be time to have someone go into the well and see what’s what. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Over the years, the well cover has been damaged. It’s a concrete circle with bent rebar handles embedded in the concrete. At some point, one of those handles got broken right off, and the other is bent down against the concrete. I’m not sure how we would get it open.

So I ended up calling the plumber back and leaving a message about starting with switching out the old pump in the basement and seeing how that goes. I also called the septic company to see if they are still coming out today, but we’ve had no call back from them, either. Which is really, really unusual for them.

I don’t like have the gate not only unlocked, but open, for so long. At least I can keep an eye on it through the live feed of the garage security camera.

It’s still afternoon as I write this, but it feels like it should be several hours later, right now!

I have such an urge to just go to bed right now.

The Re-Farmer

Stripped bare, and heavy traffic day

It’s working out to be a very unpleasant morning, weather wise! Thankfully, I was out earlier to do my rounds outside, so I could make sure the gate was open. We’ve got a septic company coming in to clean out our tank for the winter, some time this morning.

Checking on the sunflowers this morning, I just had to get some pictures to share.

The stalks have been stripped bare of any leaves under about 6 1/2 – 7 feet!

From the fresh pile of deer droppings visible at the bottom of the above photo, you can guess why!

The leaves were mostly frost damaged and already drooping. You can’t see in the photo, but the ground in places was littered with stems left behind after the soft parts were eaten.

It’s looking like we’re not going to get any actual seeds out of these. This seed head is one of the best that’s out there. Many never had the chance to fully open and get pollinated. Even the two I harvested and brought inside to dry are looking no different, really, than this one. I plucked a seed out of one of the dried ones, and it had pretty much nothing in the shell. I’m leaving these outside for now. The weather is going to cool down for a few days, then warm back up again, and the sunflowers are pretty much the last thing we’ll be cleaning out. Mind you, their role as wind breaks are rather defeated by the lack of leaves!

Our sunflowers may not be doing well, but it’s been a great year for farmers’ crops this year. After such a horrible year last year, this is wonderful news. A lot of people planted corn again, including our renter. Yesterday, we were hearing and seeing a LOT of traffic by our place. Checking the trail cam files this morning, I was seeing gravel trucks, hay bale trailers, trucks full of fire wood and farm equipment. It wasn’t until I’d gone through a number of images that I realized what I thought were dump trucks full of gravel were actually full of corn. Or, at least, they couldn’t possibly be gravel. The images aren’t very good at that distance and speed of subject! 😀 I have one of the trail cams now set to stills instead of video, and going through that one, I counted 23 full loads going by! Those are just the ones that were captured. There could easily be more that got missed by the camera delay. At one point, the road was so busy, two dumpt trucks had to squeeze past each other in front of our driveway. That road is barely wide enough for two cars, never mind two dump trucks!

Sometimes, I kinda wish we lived even further into the boonies. Too many neighbours! Too much traffic! 😀

The Re-Farmer

So many cords…

Today I did some work on my mother’s car, to help prepare it for winter.

For those less familiar with some of the things many of us Canadians need to do to our vehicles so they better survive our winters, most vehicles here have, at the very least, a block heater. That’s all our van has. This prevents the oil from freezing and cracking the engine block.

We actually had that happen to us. We were living in Victoria, BC, which is temperate rainforest. Getting snow there is a rarity, and temperatures below -20C/-4F even rarer. An unexpected windfall meant we could afford to drive out to be with family for Christmas. We had no car of our own, so we rented one. My husband called several places and, at each one, told them that where we were planning to drive and asked for a car with a block heater. The typical response was “what’s a block heater?” So we took what we could and headed out, stopping for the night along the way. That night, temperatures plummeted and wind chills reached -61C/-77F. Amazingly, the car started the next morning, but we barely got back on the highway when it started making noises, so we stopped. This was in the days before cell phones, so my husband started to walk back to town, getting a ride from someone (thank God!) along the way, to get help. Long story short, the engine block had cracked (also, a 6 pack of pop on the floor of the back seat exploded. 😀 ) and by the time all was said and done, it cost the company some $5000.

A few years later, when we went back to rent a car there again, we learned our story had become legend in the company. Also, the franchise owner replaced his entire fleet, and all their cars now had block heaters.

So… yeah. These are essential.

If you ever see a vehicle with Canadian plates, and the end of a cord hanging out the hood, now you know what it’s for. 😀

My mother’s car, however, also has a battery warmer and, because it was used so little, my brother added a trickle charger, too.

All of which need to be plugged in.

The plug and cord for the block heater in newer vehicles are different. They don’t need to be on constantly to do that job so, to save power, the cord itself is designed to shut itself off about about 20 minutes, then if the temperature of the lines drop below a certain point, it turns itself on again.

When my brother set things up, he used an extension cord they could all plug into, tucked neatly away.

I needed to replace the extension cord.

He also had a wire around the battery warmer to hold it in place. However, with my mom’s car having so much work done in recent years, things got moved around. After the battery died while sitting at the garage for so long, it was taken out to be charged, but I guess the wire that had been around the warmer was forgotten. I was going to use Zip Ties to hold it, but they kept breaking, so I used a Bungee cord; the red that you can see around the battery.

This is the plug for the trickle charger, after I pulled the rest of it loose. As you can see, there’s no way to plug in the block heater or the battery warmer. My mother didn’t drive the car in the winter and, until we took over taking care of it, my brother stored it here at the farm and took the battery into the house for the winter.

Remember how I mentioned the extension cord used to be neatly tucked in, until work was done on the car?

This is why the cord needs replacing.

I had noticed an odd sound a while back (this was before we had the serpentine belt and pulleys replaced) and found a loop of it hanging down, touching the belt. Thankfully, it didn’t get caught, but there was enough contact for the friction to wear right down to the wire. In another spot, it had been caught between something tight enough to cut through two layers of plastic.

We had the same type of extension cord set up in the garage for our own van, so I was going to just switch them out. I had gotten to the point of trying to figure out how to fit the end, with all three plugs in it, in place when I realized something.

Our cord was much longer than the one I’d just taken out! There was no way I could safely tuck away any excess.

Since I couldn’t leave everything half done like that, I made a quick run into town. Of the 2 hardware stores, one was already closed, and I had less than an hour to get into the second one!


I have never seen an extension cord for block heaters before!

I could have done with shorter, but that was the shortest they had.

It took a fair amount of fiddling to find a way to lay the plugged in cords out.

More Zip Ties were used to keep things from slipping down, while the new extension cord was set up to exit at the other end.

At this point, I’m not bothering to hook up the trickle charger. It’s not needed right now.

The battery has nothing to indicate which side is positive and which is negative! Only by stretching to see the far side of the battery can I see which connector cable is red and which is black.

I’d used the slots for holding the battery cover in place for Zip Ties to hold the cord. Thankfully, that did not prevent me from being able to fasten the cover back into place.

I then dropped the hood a couple of times to make sure I could actually close it with the end of the extension cord sticking out.

For now, though, it’ll stay tucked away. When we get colder, I’ll hook up the trickle charger and leave the plug hanging out. A lot of public parking lots have outlets available, so an extension cord will be kept in the vehicle in case we want to plug it in while out and about, too.

Aside from that, my mother’s car is all set for winter. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Fall cover, and working out a problem

It’s been rather windy for the past few days.

We certainly won’t be needing to mulch the bulbs we planted! They’re getting an excellent cover right now. 🙂

We’ve got a bit of a challenge in winterizing things outside. One of the things that needs to be done is to replace the rotting skid under the cat house.

After dismantling our goat catcher earlier in the year, we left the frames together. The two 4′ x 8′ ones were prefect to use as guides for our potato beds. When I noticed how rotten the skid under the cat house was, I grabbed one of the frames to check.

It’s actually a better size than what’s already under there! Right now, only one side rests completely on the length of the skid, while the other rests on the skid at only 2 points. That’s the side that also had the little addition, where the entrance is. There is nothing supporting the weight of the entry at all, other than the floor beams.

The problem is, this thing is incredibly heavy. My brother had managed to move it onto his trailer all by himself, but he did that by putting straps around the skid. We need to take it off the skid, then put a new one underneath. The whole thing will be on bricks to keep the wood from contacting the ground, and I plan to add more under the entry to support it, as well.

We discussed taking the roof right off, since that’s where a lot of the weight it, but we are already hearing crackling of wood every time we raise it. It’s already got a lot of years on it, and we’d like to be able to use it for quite a few more! Once we have it on a new skid, set up a bit closer to the house for the extension cord to reach, it will hopefully never need to be moved again until it’s no longer usable. Another part of the problem is the lack of tools. We don’t even have a bar we could use to lever it – there was one, but it was among the things that disappeared while the place was empty.

We will have to make do with whatever we can find!

The Re-Farmer

All aglow, and yard helper

The cat house we now have to provide the outside kitties shelter for the winter has power to it. There are two outlets inside, one of which has a light plugged into it. We’ve never been able to plug it in. The nearest source of power is in the old kitchen. We’ve got an extension cord going through the window that we use, but it wasn’t long enough to reach the cat house.

Yesterday, I was able to pick up a new outdoor 25ft extension cord.

It just barely reached!

But reach, it did!

The problem is, I’m not sure how much the cats will use it, all lit up like that. It’s a 100 watt bulb (under a protective, waterproof cover), so it will also help with warmth a little bit, but I am thinking we might want to find some way to create a shaded area more conducive to sleep.

As for warmth, we’ve been looking at different possibilities, but the biggest issue is one of safety. Most types of heaters would not do well enclosed in a small space full of flax straw and a bunch of cats that like to scratch and dig. My daughter, however, thought that maybe a terrarium heater might work. When clearing out the shelves in my mother’s old bedroom, I did find a red heat bulb for chicks, but it’s a 500 watt bulb. We could get a terrarium bulb in black or blue, that’s 100 or 150 watts – or a no-light ceramic heater that screws in like a light bulb. Like this. (not an affiliate link) I think that would be much safer than some of the warming mats we’ve been looking at.

In fact, I just interrupted writing this post to ask my husband to find a ceramic heater type on Amazon Prime to order. This is not something we would be able to find locally.

Solution found! 🙂 I think the cats will be much happier with that. Since the cat house has three windows in it, they will still have daylight, or even moonlight, rather than being blinded. We still have a couple of sheets of rigid insulation we can add to the walls or under the roof.

Maybe not the walls. They like to use it as scratching posts! 😀

Meanwhile, we still need to replace the skid under it. When we do, we can move the whole thing a little bit closer to the house, to give the new extension cord some slack. I’ll also be picking up one of those waterproof cord protector boxes, since it will definitely end up buried in snow at some point.

I left the cat house plugged in last night, to see if the cats would use it while lit up. When I came out this morning, I didn’t see any cats in it – though I did see cats on it! 😀 Unfortunately, looking through the window, I did see that the cats have been pooping in a corner. *sigh* That didn’t take long! 😦

This little baby looks ready to help me with the yard work!

She was actually hunting leaves blown around by the wind. 😀

I was actually able to pet her, Rosencrantz AND her brother this morning, while feeding them!

I’ve been calling this one Little Braveheart, but the girls have named her Tissue, because she looks like tissue paper blowing in the wind as she runs across the yard.

What do you thing? Braveheart or Tissue?

I’ve been calling her brother the oh-so-original “Tabby”, but the girls have been calling him Nostril, because he had one black nostril. I was telling my husband this, and he immediately went to “Nostril-damus.”

I think we have a winner! 😀

The Re-Farmer