A quiet day

I like when our Sunday day of rest turns out to be an actual day of rest!

While doing my rounds this morning, I let Potato Beetle out of the sun room. Today, he ignored this personal food and water bowls in favour of the outside ones.

I love how Nosy likes to just sit in the window, napping. 🙂

Potato’s wound is looking better as well. He didn’t want to go back into the sun room when I was done my rounds, so I left the doors propped open so he could go in later, if we wanted to. We were at a fairly mild -15C/5F (though with a wind chill of -28C/-18F!), so I knew he would be okay. We’ll keep him in the sun room for one more night, so when my daughters went out for a walk this afternoon and spotted him, the put him back in. Things are supposed to warm up quite a bit, after tonight, and he’s healing up well enough that we don’t need to take extra precautions.

Beyond that, it was just a day of online church (second Sunday of Lent), keeping up with family, and watching the parade of deer visiting the feeding station! It looks like the same group of five came back a couple of times, as well as a pair and a singleton showing up. There were so many showing up at once, I didn’t even try to take pictures with the DSLR set up in the living room. The zoom lens can’t get so many deer at once, I didn’t feel like switching lenses. Too many shedding cats around! 😀

Tomorrow, I bring the van in to the garage to see what can be done about that noise from the power steering pump. We were just going into the cold snap when I brought it home from last time he worked on it, and it hasn’t been driven since. We’ve only run the engine a few times, and the noise was there, so the cold is the only thing I can think of that could have caused the problem. Hopefully, it is something that can be fixed quickly, so we can do our monthly shop, and pick up that warranty replacement hot water tank! I feel like we’re on borrowed time with the current one.

Hopefully, this replacement will last more than 2 years. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Winter is not quite done with us, yet

After getting teased with spring, the temperatures lurched back downwards last night.

Also, I am SO tired of our intermittent internet. It took me forever to get any of my weather apps to load! We’ll be able to switch back to the primary account soon. Hopefully, that will be better again. :-/

As I write this, we’re still at -24C/-11F, but the wind chill has “warmed” up to -33C/-27. It was pretty steady like that, all night.

I am really looking forward to that 6C/43F two Sundays from now!!

While doing my rounds this morning, I opened up the sun room to let Potato out for a bit, if he wanted. Along with the warm water, I had a treat for the kitties. I’d kept the meat juices and dregs from a roasting pan. Usually, I’d use it as part of the liquid for a soup, or make a gravy out of it, but this was onion free, and safe for cats. The juices had gelled, so I added warm water to melt it and brought it out for the cold kitties.

They were so excited for the treat!!! Cats that would normally stay away from each other were all pushing their way into the bowl, ignoring the container of warm water they usually go for, while I knocked the ice out of the water bowls. With the temperature fluctuations, the metal bowls are in melted depressions of ice, and I had to use a chipper to get one of them out! LOL

I was happy to see that the terrarium heat bulb was enough to keep Potato Beetle’s water from freezing. There was just a bit of ice on the water surface furthest from the bulb.

Once the water was taken care of, I fought some kitties off the bowl of meat juices and split it between the various food bowls. More room for more cats to have a treat! The very last bits in the bowl, which had chunks of meat in it, went into Potato’s bowl in the sun room. He had gone outside after I’d opened the door, but it didn’t take much for him to go back in! We are a bit concerned about him being alone and lonely in there, but he seems to be content over the whole situation.

I tried to get a picture of his wound, but he wouldn’t stay still, so this was the best I could get! Now that the fur is shaved, we can see that it’s a rather large puncture wound – and there is a smaller one, next to it! It’s drying up and scabbing over nicely, though. We’ll keep Potato in the sun room for a few more days. Once it warms up again, it should be okay for him to be outside with his little nekkid patch.

I’m not sure what we’ll do if he wants to stay in the sun room, though! We’ve tried propping the doors open, but then we caught Nicky the Nose in there, asserting his dominance. 😦

I wonder if that old sling shot I found in the garage is still usable… :-/

Since Potato was content in the sun room, I closed him up again and continued my rounds.

I had lots of company.

I had five of them! Butterscotch and Nostrildamus, the spice boys and Rolando Moon, all came along.

Then I turned around and there was number six.

Creamsicle Jr. many not want us coming anywhere near him, but that doesn’t stop him from following me around!

Unfortunately, this lurch into colder temperatures has been very rough on my husband’s pain levels (the added medications are helping, but not much at this point), and this morning, his TENS machine just stopped working. It seems one of the wires has … broken? I don’t know. He’s in a lot of pain, so his tolerance to try and figure it out is out the window. It’s an older machine, so I don’t know if we can get new wires for it anymore. The plug in port is universal, so we should be able to. I’ll have to do some looking.

But it will wait until later. I just got a call from my sister in law. She’s dropped my brother off to see my mother, and is on her way to deliver the pressure cooker! Time to go open the gate. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

The Potato is done!

Finally! We got Potato Beetle to the vet today.

When I did my rounds this morning, I did let him out of the sun room. I figured it would be good for him to stretch his legs and … do things. (The litter we had for him looked unused, but that plant pot was knocked over again…) He followed along as I did my rounds, but wasn’t looking to happy about things, so I carried him back and closed him up in the sun room again. The fur around his wound was looking damp, but I couldn’t tell if that was from him licking it, or if the wound was seeping.

Shortly before we headed out, I got him into the carrier and brought him into the house.

Which had the other cats VERY interested! He didn’t make a sound, though, and just sat there.

Cabbages and Beep Beep would have been familiar smelling cats. He might not remember Susan, Two-Face, Cheddar, David or Keith, though. Or Fenrir; when she showed up here, he was one of the kittens among the two litters that absorbed her into the family.

He wasn’t too happy with the car ride to the vet. The vibrations from gravel road in particular seems to spook him. My daughter took him in while I waited in the car (I have no idea if the vet honours mask exemptions, and I really didn’t want to deal with it if they didn’t). He was given a thorough examination, the wound was shaved and cleaned, he got a rabies shot, just in case Nicky the Nose (the only cat that we’ve seen that would do this to him) is infected, plus the slow release anti-biotic. Overall, he checked out well. Since he is willing to stay in the sun room, we will be keeping him indoors for a little while. If possible, we are to keep the wound clean with a damp cloth, but that’s it.

He is now back in the sun room and seems content.

Even with the wound shaved, it’s hard to see in the photo! When the light hits it, though, you can see that it is bright, bright red.

We’re expected to get some colder overnight temperatures coming up, and while he’s got a cozy set up in the sun room, we decided to dig out the light attached to a board that my brother used under the kitchen sink, to help keep the pipes from freezing when the house was empty over the winter (the kitchen has no heat running to it, so it was the one vulnerable spot). We later used it to keep the water bowl from freezing when we had the sun room set up as winter shelter for the cats. I switched out the light bulb for the spare ceramic terrarium heat bulb. It’s now set up facing the food and water bowls, and the nearby box nest we made for him. It’ll be just enough to keep the edge off in a small area, but that’s all he’ll need. We could probably do nothing at all; while we are at -8C/18F outside, the sun room is above 10C/50F. His little box nest would be even warmer. But we have the means to safely give him some warmth, so why not?

I’m glad that he checked out okay. Plus, it cost much less than we expected, which is bonus. We’re so used to the high cost of getting a cat fixed, it seems weird that other services they provide cost so much less! The main thing is that he’s healing up nicely, and is doing well. That’s a relief! 🙂

In other things, I updated yesterday’s post about the pressure canner my sister in law found for us. Click on the link for more details, but the short version is, even though it was in the canning section and being sold as a canner, when she checked the instructions, there was nothing about how to use it for canning! We’re going to keep it, anyhow. It will be used! Meanwhile, we’ll still keep our eyes out for a pressure canner that is affordable. It’s not a big deal if we don’t get it this year, but we will eventually need one.

Getting a chainsaw is higher on the priority list right now. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: one last surprise! (updated)

I wasn’t expecting to do another post today – and certainly not another garden post – but I just had to! I’ve had two awesome things happen since my last post.

One is that I got an email confirming our back ordered seeds from Veseys has just been shipped! It’s only two packets of seeds; the cherry and grape tomato medley, and the third variety of bush beans we had ordered. Now, the only things left outstanding are the items that will be shipped in time for planting in our zone. I’m really glad I ordered all these back in December. Quite a few of the varieties we ordered have since gone out of stock.

Then there is the other exciting bit.

Have I mentioned I have an awesome brother?

Have I also mentioned he has an equally awesome wife?

I got a call from her this evening, asking me to check my email. She had sent me this photo.

You see, I had asked them to keep an eye out for a pressure canner for me and this evening, while on their way to a romantic dinner out, they stopped at a Canadian Tire. Because who can turn down a quick run into Canadian Tire?

They found a pressure canner (yes, I know; it says cooker, but it’s the same tool) in stock!

It’s even one that was on some of the “top 10” lists I’d been looking at. Plus, it’s on sale!

Did I want her to pick it up for me?

Yes. Yes, I did!

Then, just moments after we hung up the phone, she called back. Since she was there, in the canning supplies section anyhow, was there anything else I wanted?

She found a couple of boxes of wide mouth snap lids to pick up for me as well.

We are now all set for both hot water bath and pressure canning, this fall.

My sister in law is awesome!

The Re-Farmer

Update: So… about that pressure canner…

As Carolee pointed out in the comments, this is a pressure cooker. I have read about them being used as canners, found instructions for them, etc. It was in the canning section, being sold as a pressure canner. It should be good. At least for small jars, like we would be using. At that size, I knew we’d never fit quart jars in there, but we aren’t planning on pressure canning anything in that size.

However, I asked my sister in law to go through the instructions to see, and apparently there is NOTHING about using this model as a canner in the instructions. Which is a bit irritating, since that’s what it was being sold as.

In the end, we’re going to keep it, rather than ask them to return it. That was a really good sale price, and we will make use of it in other ways.

We’ve been looking online for pressure canners around the province. I found one in the city, selling for $450. Well beyond our budget. I found another in a closer hardware store that was smaller and more affordable, but it’s not in stock. I am trying to avoid using Amazon, so I tried looking at more direct sources and manufacturers. They’re all in the US which means that, with the dollar difference, shipping costs and hidden expenses, I just assume it will cost double what the listed price is. Some are still affordable, but… out of stock, of course.

We will keep looking, but if how things are now is anything to go by, it looks like we will be freezing, dehydrating and pickling vegetables, rather than canning them! I do want to can things like meat, chili, soups and stews, too, and for that, we will need a pressure canner. We’ve canned chili before, but that was to keep them in the fridge for quick meals. Which was really handy. I’ve also canned soup stock but, again, it had to be refrigerated and used fairly quickly. In the long term, I want to have shelf-stable produce, and there is no getting around needing a pressure canner to ensure the food stays safe. Ultimately, we can do without. We have alternatives.

Our 2021 garden: Baker Creek order arrived!

I made it to the post office while running errands today, and had a small package waiting. I just sort of assumed it was for my daughters or my husband, but nope! It turned out to be my last minute order from Baker Creek. I am totally shocked that it arrived already! When I placed the order, they had a notice saying that, for orders outside the US, it could take as long as 3 months to arrive. It has only been two weeks since I got the shipping notice! This may well be the fastest any of our seed orders have come in!

Which means that right now, not counting the items that will be shipped in the spring in time for planting, we have only a couple of back ordered seeds that we’re waiting for. One is our third variety of beans, and the other is a medley of cherry and grape tomatoes. The tomatoes are the only ones I’m concerned about, since they need to be started indoors, but not until April or May, so we still have time.

Here is what we got today. (All links will open in new tabs, so don’t worry about losing your place! 🙂 )

While talking about and planning for the varieties of seeds we already had, the girls noticed we unintentionally have been leaning towards a rather purple theme. These are now intentionally on that theme! We had only one variety of peas, so that was my excuse to get the King Tut Purple peas.

The Chinese Pink celery was chosen not just for the colour, but because it’s supposed to be easier to grow in our climate than the usual European varieties. We’re really excited to see how these turn out!

Our three varieties of lettuces have turned in to four! Thanks to the free packet of Buttercrunch lettuce, we have one green type to go with our deep reds and purples. Merlot, Lunix and Lollo Rossa.

As lettuces are cool weather crops, these will likely be planted in the shadier old kitchen garden, though with so many varieties, and other things we intend to plant there… well, it’s not that big of a garden!

That’s okay. We’ll figure it out.

The Spoon Tomato is another new one for Baker Creek (I can’t remember why I ordered two packets…) and these were ordered for my older daughter; the one person in our household that really likes tomatoes! My husband does, too, but not as much. These are so tiny and adorable, I might even try tasting them, even though fresh tomatoes normally make me gag.

Hmmm. I just took another look at the write up on the website, to try and remember why I ordered two packets. Probably because I noticed that the packets have a minimum seed count of 15. Since we’d be starting seeds in groups and thinning them, that would be why I ordered two. However I noticed in a review, a person commented that these will self-seed, because it’s basically impossible to harvest them all. We will have to keep that in mind when we transplant them outdoors!

The Luffa gourds are something I ordered just for me. I don’t know that we’ll even be able to plant any this year, but with how quickly seeds have been running out again this year, I figured I’d better get them. As it is, I’m planning to try growing just a couple of each variety, rather than planting entire seed packets, so I’ll likely try starting some of these indoors, too. They are edible when young, but I’m interested in them for the sponges.

It will be a real challenge to grow any of the gourds in our climate. I think I’m up for it!

Now I’m even more excited about getting those loads of soil. Thanks to TurboTax fixing that bug I discovered, I was able to file my husband’s tax return this morning. I’d tried before going to bed last night, but our internet was down again. My return should come in faster because of the glitch. As soon as it does, I’m ordering the soil!

Then I’m going to go shopping for a chain saw. 😀

The Re-Farmer

The gatekeeper of cuteness!

While the inside cats – at least one of them, anyhow – were busily trying to destroy our bunching onion seedlings, the outside cats were far more civil and adorable!

When I headed out to do their food and water, I opened up the sun room door, so Potato Beetle could come out. He was all curled up in the box nest we made for him.

The only reason he came out at all was because I refilled the outside bowls with warm water, before doing the one in the sun room. It had frozen over, but didn’t freeze solid, like the ones outside.

Once he knew there was warm water in the sun room, he was back inside!

The litter box we have for him was unused, though from the smell, he found somewhere to go! I think he (unsuccessfully) tried to use a plant pot with soil in it, as I found it knocked over. The good thing about the sun room is, we can easily clear it out and clean the concrete floor in the spring. He does know how to use a litter box; we used the sun room as a winter shelter for the cats and they all preferred to use the litter boxes we had in there, rather than go out in the snow!

By the time I finished with the deer and bird feed, Potato was back in his box nest, all curled up and ready for a nap! So I closed up the replacement door, leaving the inner door open, to allow a bit more light and warmth in.

While doing the rest of my rounds, I had plenty of company, as Butterscotch, her three boys, Nosy and Rolando Moon, all followed me around!

We had snow last night. A light, fluffy, crystalline snow. I wish I could capture on camera, just how much everything was glittering and sparkling this morning!

This is not frost. This is snow! Every surface that could hold the flakes was glittering in the sunlight. It was an amazing sight!

Almost as amazing as this… 😉

We had an adorable gatekeeper of cuteness! 😀

Creamsicle Jr. is a shy one, so I had to zoom in to take photos while trying to get closer.

He didn’t like that too much. 😀

I really hope we are able to better socialize him – and the rest of the semi-feral kitties that won’t let us near them! – over the summer. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: damage control

I’m about ready to start throwing cats outside! 😦

This is what I discovered, this morning.

The long piece of insulation across the top is what had been blocking the opening on the back of the tank lid. You can even see the claw marks in it!

Some nasty little beast managed to pull one of the trays up!

The peat stayed in most of the cells, though a few at the very back were empty when I straightened it out. I found the plugs and put them back as best I could, and gently took loose peat off the cells it had fallen on and put it in the emptier cells. I will give it a day or two, then plant new seeds in the cells that didn’t survive.

Eventually, the seedlings will reach a height were I can take out the box that is keeping them closer to the light, and the cats won’t be able to reach the trays anymore, but for now they trays need to be this high. They should probably be a bit higher, but that would just make it easier for a cat to reach. The opening in the back is where I’m going to set up the tiny fan we have, to blow over the seedlings and help them get stronger, but for now, I’ve basically put a sheet of foam core over the tank’s lid and weighed it down. It should still have a bit of air circulation, but we’ll have to keep a close eye on it.

I am not pleased with the kitties! 😦

The Re-Farmer

Moving forward on all sorts of things!

Today was a day of moving forward on a few things, and even accomplishing some! 😀

First, the most important thing.

Potato Beetle status.

No, this is not Potato Beetle. Nostrildamus was posing so sweetly for me, I just had to take a photo.

Also, his eyes are quite clear. He’s just got them comfortably half shut as he enjoys the relative warmth of the cat house roof under his paws!

The Potato was not up to letting me take his picture, but he was very much up to showing up for warm water, following me as I did my rounds, and letting me carry him back to the house! 🙂

I tucked him into the sun room with food and water, which I put on a scrap of rigid insulation, so he wouldn’t have to be on cold concrete while eating and drinking. He had quite the appetite!

Once back inside, I called the vet. I mentioned the photos I sent, and she went looking for them. Someone else had checked the email yesterday, so she didn’t know where it was at first. The only opening they had was for Friday, at which point, should we even bother bringing him in at all? It’s not like he’s going to get any stitches with the wound having had this long to heal on its own. She said she would get a doctor to look at the photos and would call me back.

When she did, she told me the doctor thinks it looks pretty good, from what he could see (which, admittedly, isn’t much!), but since this is an outdoor cat… well, they get pretty dirty, and that increases the risks of infection. We decided to book Potato Beetle for Friday, early afternoon, for a check up. They will likely not have to do anything, though I would not be averse to some slow release antibiotics, like they gave Butterscotch. One thing they will be able to do is examine Potato for other wounds. While carrying him, I tried to feel around as I pet him. I think I was feeling scabs through his fur in a few places.

So, that appointment is made. Since he would not be going in until Friday, I went into the sun room and opened the doors to let him out.

He had no interest in leaving, and just started eating some more.

I noticed the water bowl was starting to ice over, so I warmed up some water in the kettle and brought it over. He was still eating when I came in, but as soon as I added the warm water, he switched right over. Because the water in our hot water tank develops a smell after a while, we don’t use warm tap water for the cats. I had tried that, and they didn’t seem to like it, but they LOVE the water that’s been warmed in the kettle! When I come out with the container and set it on the ground so I can knock the ice out of the metal bowls and clean out the heated bowl, Ginger used to be the one I’d find drinking out of the container. He’d stop as I came over to take it and fill the water bowls. Now, it’s Potato Beetle that goes straight for the container, and he even keeps trying to drink while I pick it up to fill the bowls! He seemed to really, really like having food and water bowls all to himself.

Seeing how quickly ice formed on the water bowl – and that Potato wasn’t interested in going outside – I grabbed a box and made a little house for him, with an old pillow for a bed. We already have an old pillow on the floor under the swing bench that he has claimed, but the box would get warmer, just from his body heat. I set it up right next to the food and water bowls, so he could go from being on a pillow to walking on the piece of rigid insulation, and never have to walk on cold concrete, if he didn’t want to.

Then I headed out to do our shopping, along with my younger daughter. While we were gone, Potato’s water bowl got topped up with warm water a few times, and he still had zero interest in leaving the sun room!

Since we were using my mother’s car for our shopping, I didn’t get as much of the heavy stuff as we normally would, but I did get some kibble to top of the bin in the sun room. I added some of the new kibble to Potato’s food bowl, just to give him something different. He ate with gusto!

And wouldn’t leave the sun room.

So… he’s still there.

I wasn’t planning on keeping him locked up until his appointment, but he’s very content where he is now. We can look out the bathroom window and see him sitting on the swing bench, napping. Or looking back at us!

This wasn’t exactly the plan, but we’ll take it, I guess!

I also called up the garage about or van. Sure enough, he’d tried to return my call while I was with the tech service call for so long, trying to figure out what was going on with the software I’d just bought.

The van will be dropped off on Monday morning for him to check out. The only thing he suggested was topping up the power steering fluid. He seemed pleased when I told him it was full. At least we know there’s no leak! Once the van has been checked over and any repairs get done, I’ll finally be able to do a real monthly stock up trip. We haven’t been able to do one since the end of November!

As for the shopping, we only went to the Walmart in the nearer small city. My daughters had made their own shopping list, too. Aside from the stuff we usually get, I was able to pick up some Jiffy Pellet refills for our second tray, which is one of those self-watering pellet trays with a domed lid. I also picked up a plain tray, that will work well for when I use the repurposed K-cups to start seeds. They will all have drainage holes, and the tray will allow them to be watered from below.

I also picked up a case of 750ml, wide mouth canning jars. We currently have 250ml and 500ml jars with regular size mouths, plus more 500ml wide mouth jars. Little by little, as we are able, we will add to our stock of jars, plus get more snap lids. There was a water bath canner in stock, but I ended up just getting the metal rack for holding jars that will allow me to use one of our stock pots. It’s designed so that, if we were canning small, short jars, a second one can be placed on top of the jars and we could can two layers of small jars. I don’t expect to do that, but it’s an option. My daughters got me a set of canning tools for Christmas, so with the purchase of this rack, I now have all the tools needed to do water bath canning.

So, another area of progress!

I was unable to find a pressure canner, though. They didn’t seem to have any in stock anywhere. We have time to find one, though.

I have no idea what kind of harvest we will end up with at the end of the season, but I hope to be fully prepared to can plenty! We also intend to freeze some things, and dehydrate others, so we will have a variety of options, even if we don’t get a pressure canner. I did find myself ogling a dehydrator, but decided against it. For the amount I expect to be dehydrating this year, we can use our oven well enough. It’s not worth spending the money on, at this point, and we don’t have the space to store it right now. That is a purchase that has no urgency to it.

After we got home, I had one more thing that we can finally move forward on, though it’s far less pleasant to think about. I called the court office.

We finally have a court date for the restraining order we filed against our vandal.

It’s just a general session date, and there is a lot of backlog. Chances are, it’ll probably end up booked for a future hearing, but… I don’t know. This is for a restraining order, not a civil suit. Will the court just fly through the docket, like they did for the teleconference call for his vexatious litigation against me, that he clearly filed in retaliation for my applying for a restraining order? After all, my application is a criminal matter, not a civil matter.

Our vandal would have to call the court office to see if court dates were started up again or not. If he had called yesterday, that may have been the triggering event for him calling my mother three times, yesterday. One of his “usual” things that he rants about now is that my mother is trying to put him in jail. She has nothing to do with my application for a restraining order, though, so he’s just lashing out at her because he can’t lash out at me. I’ve had no direct communication from him for something like 2 years. He can’t intimidate me, but he can try and intimidate my mother. Thankfully, he doesn’t call her anywhere near as often as he used to. My siblings and I have been working to put a stop to that, which includes helping my mother understand some of her self-sabotaging behaviour. This is someone who was so very close to us, and she still feels she needs to treat him like family. She owes him nothing. He owes her (and my late father) everything.

Anyhow. The court date is in March, so that’s another step forward.

And now it’s time to check on Potato Beetle and make sure he’s settled in for the night. Something far more pleasant to think about than court dates!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: not quite cat proof

Aren’t they adorable?

Don’t they look so sweet and innocent, snuggled together?

Don’t believe them. They lie!

They are devious, destructive beasts! 😀

Okay, okay. I don’t think Cabbages and her “grandma” are the guilty parties responsible for this.

The tank’s lid has an opening at the back for the filter, cords, etc. I’d blocked it off, but some cats – and I think at least two are guilty! – still managed to get a leg through a gap to reach the trays below. Juuuuust enough to scratch up the cardboard edge and dig up some of the peat. I finally put a piece of the rigid insulation under the lid, cut wide enough to cover the opening in the back, but narrow enough to not reach the light fixture attached to the underside of the lid.

Can you guess what the clever little monsters did next?

They figured out how to open the little flip-top door in the front of the lid, that was used to drop fish food in!

I’m pretty sure we’ve lost some sprouting onions from this.

If you look closely in the photo, you can see white specks in the peat. Those are little curled sprouts, pushing their way through the peat!

I ended up putting a weight on top of the little door, but with the back blocked off, and the little door once again closed, there’s no air circulation in the tank. The glass started to fog up! So I’ve created a small gap in the back slot that I hope the cats will not try to get through.

It takes a lot of determination for a cat to be able to reach these trays! They really, really want to dig in that “dirt”.

The Re-Farmer

Oy, what a day!

First things first: the status of Potato Beetle.

I have no idea.

We never took him to the vet, because we couldn’t find him!

I did see him this morning, and should have locked him up in the sun room, but I didn’t want him have him locked up like that for almost 6 hours. A couple of hours before we were planning to leave, we went looking for him. He was nowhere to be found!

So I called the vet and explained the situation. Whenever we manage to snag him, we are to give them a call and they’ll fit him in. Unless, it turns out not to be needed. I took some photos this morning, and offered to email one in, and they were good with that.

I still couldn’t see his wound this morning, but I can often get photos at angles that let me see more than I could manage otherwise, so I took a bunch of shots while he was eating.

You can tell from this first one, why the wound was so hard to see. If it had not been so matted and had dry blood in the fur, yesterday, I would not have noticed it. Today, it looked much cleaner.

This is the best look I’ve had of the wound itself, ever. It’s not actively bleeding, and does not appear to be infected. In showing the photos to my older daughter, she told me she had seen what she thought were puncture marks on either side of his leg, where the fur goes white, but I could see no sign of anything like that. Likely, they are small enough for the fur to hide completely.

He was chipper and active enough to follow me as I did my rounds, when he helped me demonstrate perspective on some tracks in the snow.

My brother’s dog has huge paws! 😀 With yesterday’s warmth, followed by the overnight freeze, there were a lot of his tracks sunk deep into the snow during the warmth of the day, then frozen overnight. 🙂

There were lots of other tracks. Mostly from deer. Probably including these ones!

I spotted them outside our north facing window. Only one of them went to the feeding station by the living room window, though from the lack of feed on the ground, I think the herd was leaving rather than arriving.

When my daughter and I went outside to try and find Potato Beetle, and he wasn’t in the usual places, we decided to do some noisy chores. If he were at my younger brother’s place, or the empty farm yard across the other road, he would likely hear us and come over.

He didn’t. Which tells me he went further afield. I suppose that’s good news, since it would mean he was feeling strong and healthy. My daughter, of course, was fretting that he might be hurt in a ditch somewhere.

We never saw Potato, but I did get this job done.

When the girls shoveled snow off the roof, before things started melting, the snow covered my path to the feeding station, and no one had a chance to clear it until today. After the melt and freeze we had, I ended up having to use a metal garden shovel, instead of our plastic snow shovels, because it was the only thing strong enough to break through the hard packed top layer. My daughter, meanwhile, used the ice chipper to clear the sidewalk. As things warm up, the paths will melt away and clear faster.

With all the chopping and scraping, we were making more than enough noise to attract curious kitties. Just not the one we were after!

I was thinking that, tomorrow morning, I could put him in the sun room with some food and water – I’m just not sure what I can use as a litter box – and we can keep him tucked away. I won’t be able to take him in to the vet tomorrow, because tomorrow I will be doing a big shopping trip. Not quite our monthly shop, since I will be using my mother’s car, but enough to stock up for at least a couple of weeks.

And why will I be using my mother’s car?

Well, I ran the van today, and it’s still making that whining noise that I thought was the serpentine belt, but now think is the power steering pump, next to the belt. I checked the fluid level, and it’s full.

So when I had the chance, I called up the garage and left a message about it, asking him to call me back.

Which he probably tried to do, but would have gotten a busy signal.

You see, I did something else today. I purchased and downloaded this year’s TurboTax and started the tax returns for myself and my husband. Because of our internet connectivity problems, I made sure to get the desktop version, not the online set up, like we used last year. Our returns are pretty basic, so I finished them this morning. Tax returns are easy when your incomes are “nothing” and “better than nothing”. I was able to file mine electronically, but when I tried to file my husband’s, I got a message saying I’d used up all the available returns and it wanted me to buy more. Considering the software I bought allows for up to 20 returns in total – and the checker even showed I still had 19 left – it should have worked. After several failed attempts, it was time to contact TurboTax!

After not being able to find contact information of any kind on the website (they route people to the community, instead), I finally went to their Facebook page and sent a message briefly explaining what was happening. While my daughter and I were outside making noise to try and attract Potato, I got a response with a phone number to call.

I made that call after calling the garage.

I ended up on the phone for about 2 hours.

Among the problems we had was the software simply not opening. It kept “not responding”. We were using a sharer, so the tech person I was talking to could see my desktop, and my computer decided that today was the day to get all sluggish on me. I ended up reinstalling the software and trying to open it again, and it still wouldn’t. After several more failed attempts, we tried restarting my computer.

Which stalled during the restart. I ended up having to do a hard shut down and trying again.

Once I finally got the computer itself started, I tried opening the software before linking up with the tech, only to have it want to restart the computer again, because changes were made.


Eventually, we did get it going. I was able to open the software, our tax returns were still there, with my husband’s ready to be sent, and the tech person could see my desktop. I tried to file my husband’s return, and it sat there, spinning for a while. On that one, I did assure her that it was our unstable internet that was the problem, this time!

The screen telling me I was out of returns popped up and she finally got to see what was happening. She got me to check a few things for her, she asked all sorts of questions, before finally settling in on her side to find a solution.

I was not at all surprised when she told me it was passed on to someone in Tier 2, and she was waiting for a response.

There was a lot of waiting. She was very apologetic. I told her I didn’t mind the wait. I just needed it fixed. Particularly since we have to more people who need to file! So I didn’t have a problem with the wait.

I ended up being put on actual hold a couple of times before we got to the end, and it was pretty much what I had suspected would happen.

The problem is going to the next level.

It’s a bug, and there’s nothing that can be done about it at our end. Someone will get back to me, possibly within 24 hours, as they fix the bug. I should be able to file my husband’s return tomorrow.

Well, I won’t be holding my breath on that, but we’ll see.

By the time I got off the phone I had no doubt that, if the garage had tried to call me back, he would have given up rather quickly.

So, tomorrow morning, I will try calling him again, before I head out. Hopefully, he won’t be too booked and I’ll be able to bring the van in, soon. Depending on how early I can get the shopping done, who knows. Maybe we can still get Potato Beetle in to the vet! Unless they look at the photo and say not to bother. It’s possible, I suppose.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I got a quick phone call from my older brother. He had just talked to my mother but was about to start a meeting, so he wanted to let me know that our vandal had called her today. Three times! She let it go to message, thankfully. So while he went off to his meeting (which will be 3 hours long!), I called my mother to see if she was okay. She did sound upset. Our vandal had said “the usual”, but I had to clarify that. There are several “usual” things he says. He had been ranting at her about “giving” the farm to me and my brother (why he still thinks I have any ownership of the farm, I have no idea), apparently brought God into it (he knows she’s deeply religious, so one of his things is to tell her she won’t go to heaven to be with my late father and brother, because she’s not doing what he thinks she should be doing). There was a new one in there – at least new to me, though it’s possible he’s used this before and my mother never mentioned it. Basically, he was telling her to talk to him – as in pick up the phone, rather than letting it go to machine. Of course, anytime she does try to talk to him, it’s very much a one way conversation, as he doesn’t let her get a word in edgewise. Then she ends up hanging up to him. We’ve been working on getting her to let calls go to the machine, unless she can see who is calling. If that means my siblings and I ended up talking to a machine and calling her back later, we’re good with that. Better this slight inconvenience than her being verbally abused.

I have no idea what triggered him to call her today. Especially three times! It does remind me that I should call the court office this week, and see if a court date for the restraining order I applied for will finally happen. It’s already been pushed back three times because of the shut downs. 😦

So… It’s been quite the day, today!!

If I were a drinking person, I’d be pouring myself a stiff drink right now! But I’m not. So I will brew myself a pot of tea, instead. 😀

Everything’s better with tea!

The Re-Farmer