Kitty status, and do I dare?

When heading out this morning, I was on the lookout for Creamsicle Jr., hoping to get as much of a look at his eye as I can.

Much to my surprise, the cats that showed up this morning all came from either around the house, or the outer yard. Not a single cat was in the cat shelter!

Ginger came running up, right away, after the jug of warm water. Even Nutmeg almost came close. Nutmeg does let me pet him, every now and then, but not today. Ginger likes to drink right out of the jug (he’s more careful about it, after knocking it over once!), so I left him to it while I kicked the frozen water bowls out of the snow and knocked out the ice. The heated water bowl was mostly frozen over, but not as much as yesterday. I tried looking in the windows into the cat’s house, but could see nothing to explain why they weren’t using it.

While I was taking care of the bird and deer feed (yesterday, we saw five deer come to the feeding station!) I was happy to see Creamsicle Jr.

I had to walk past him to go back to the sun room after putting bird and deer feed out, which he didn’t like, but that warm water was tempting enough that he didn’t run away completely. I tried to move slowly and carefully to get these pictures, trying not to scare him away.

It half worked.

He did not like me coming close.

You can see some frost on the tips of his fur. All of the cats that came out had frosted tips! I don’t know where they were sheltering instead of their cat house, but wherever it was had enough humidity to get them frosty.

The one eye does seem to be more open now. The dark whatever-it-is under his eye and next to his nose is actually something stuck and dangling from a bit of fur.

The poor thing looks so miserable! It’s frustrating, that we were not able to socialize him more over the summer. I really want to get a closer look at that eye and maybe give it a wash, but not even Ginger is socialized enough for that. Hopefully, whatever is wrong will heal up faster as we get warmer.

At the time I headed out, we were still at -34C, though the “real feel” put us at -32C (-29F/-25F). As I write this, the app on my desktop, from The Weather Network, has us at -33C with a “feels like” of -38C (-27F/-36F). It also says our high of the day is expected to be -24C with a “feels like” -33C (-11F/-27F). My Accuweather app on my phone, however, has us at -29C and a “real feel” of -27C (-20F/-16F) with a high of -21C (-6F) with the “real feel” expected to be -31C (-24F).

It’s supposed to get colder again for a few more days, then slightly milder for another couple of days. After that, we’re basically hitting spring and temperatures are expected to keep getting warmer and warmer. By the end of February and into March, we should be hovering just under freezing. So in the week after this polar vortex is finally gone, we’ll be warming up by about 30 degrees from what we’re at right now. It’s going to feel positively tropical. We’re going to be breaking out the shorts and t-shirts! 😀

So I’m going to have to take advantage of this relatively warm day and head into town. Making our monthly bulk shop is out the window for this month. Buying locally, little by little, has really wrecked our budget. It’s the things like cat food and litter that is so much more expensive here that messes up our numbers. I know a lot of people hate on Walmart, but it’s places like that, and their prices, that allow us to have the room in our budget to care for the cats, and ourselves, at the same time. At Walmart and Costco prices, we easily spend about $300 a month on cat food and litter. Buying the same quantities locally would be closer to $600.

My original plan had been to head out late this morning to hit the post office before the general store it’s located in closes for the afternoon, as they do every Wednesday. However, the mail can wait. I’ll head out in the afternoon, instead. I’ll be heading into town, first. The package my husband was supposed to get turns out to be with Purolator, not FedEx, and now they’re saying we’re not in their delivery zone. They never said that when they first phoned him about it. It has been delivered to a depot in town and we’ve got 5 business days to pick it up. Fair enough. I can take advantage of that side trip to fill our gas tank (at a non co-op gas station, so we don’t end up with more than $400 in damages again) along the way. I’ve already gone over my planned route with a daughter. I’ll be going to the Walmart in a smaller city. They don’t have as much available there, but my sister lives not too far from there, so if the van breaks down on the road, I can call her for help.

I’ll be taking a route that will take longer, but the highway runs through a number of small towns. I know I’ll have a cell phone signal along there, too. My usual route would be first to the town my mother lives in, and the cell phone dead zone covers most of that drive. There’s nothing but isolated farms in between. From that town, I would cut across to a different highway, take the highway to another cross road before finally reaching the highway that goes to the city I am aiming for. The entire route is basically open land with a few farmhouses tucked away behind shelter belts, well away from the roads. The only towns I would go through, between home and this city, is the town my mother lives in, and the village near my sister’s farm.

I sometimes think I’m being ridiculous about this. I grew up there, and I’ve moved back to this area with my own family a couple of times over the decades. At one point, we lived in a house my parents owned, maybe 3 miles away from where we are now, and my husband was one of the many people who made the commute to the city. We are not strangers to these temperatures and road conditions, and didn’t think twice of packing the kids into the car and making a trip to the city just to see a movie. Back then, however, we had a car that was only 3-5 years old, and we were all younger and able bodied.

The van we have now is almost 15 years old and has well over 400,000km on it. We depend on that van more than we’ve depended on any vehicle before. Partly because, with his disability, it’s the vehicle my husband can get in and out of, and has room for his walker. Partly because it allows us to do those monthly shops that would never fit in any car we’ve ever owned.

Thankfully, we do have my mother’s car as a back up vehicle. It’s a couple of years newer than ours and has half the mileage, but has had a remarkable number of problems with it, and not just because of my mother’s terrifying driving habits. After discovering what happened with our van, I’ve already asked the mechanic about checking it over when we bring her car in for an oil change. My mother bought her gas at the co-op gas stations, too, so it may well be pretty clogged up. It would explain things like the terrible mileage. It’s still a relief to have it. We may not use it much, and the registration and insurance costs more than for our van, but being as much in the boonies as we are, it’s worth that expense to have access to a second vehicle, just in case.

Bah. I’m rambling right now. Nerves. I really don’t want to make this trip, but we just can’t afford to buy what we need locally. They often don’t even have any inventory left for things like the bigger boxes of cat litter (almost half the size of what I can get at Walmart or Costco, but almost double the price!). Other things, we just can’t get locally.

But hey! In the time it took to write this, it has warmed up a degree! :-/

Time for another cup of tea.

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Kitty status, and do I dare?

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