Van stuff, and we have emerged… :-D

Yesterday, I made a point of running our van and my mother’s car for a while, to warm up the engines.

The doors to where my mother’s car is parked are sagging, so they open on their own unless they are blocked with something heavy. I’ve been using one of the many tires scattered about to do that. The cats have been loving it. Even in the cold we’ve been having, the black rubber gets quite warm in the sun!

Potato Beetle really wanted attention! πŸ˜€

The van keeps making a noise, even after it’s been running a while, so I popped the hood to take a look.

The noise is coming from the serpentine belt, which is what I expected, but then I noticed something else.

I was basically out of coolant/anti-freeze. ?!?

I had some in the garage and topped it up a bit, but decided to check under the van to see if there was some sort of leak. The most efficient way to do that, for someone who can’t get down on the ground, is to use my phone to take pictures.

I didn’t find a leak, but when I uploaded the photos to my desktop so I could see better, I did find a mystery.

What the heck is that? This is under the driver’s seat. I don’t know enough about what’s under vehicles to know what that is. I’ll have to look it up.

Meanwhile, I hooked up the OBD II reader and it actually worked this time, so I did a scan.

One thing came up as an issue, code P0404. I looked it up, but what I found really didn’t tell me much. The EGR valve is what got recently replaced, so this could related to what the mechanic told me about how carbon in the lines he couldn’t reach to clean might come loose and cause some stuttering, etc. I’ll have to give him a call.

On the plus side, my mother’s car was running better, so when I headed out to do my rounds this morning, I made sure to grab the keys and get it warming up.

This morning was the first time in a long time where the temperature and the wind chill were both warmer than -30C for a change!

The cats were quite enjoying the comparatively warm conditions! Poor Nosy is still looking miserable, and he really wanted attention. When holding him, he’s actually taken to grabbing my hand and pulling it to his face, for me to scritch his neck.

It’s warmed up enough that I will be switching out the memory cards on trail cams regularly again, though I had to take the new camera inside and switch to warm batteries again. I took the opportunity to reverse it’s location with the older camera. It is now in full sun, which should help with the frozen battery problems.

Once that was done, I used my mother’s car to go to the post office/general store. It’s just a few miles away, so I felt confident it would be fine.

My mother’s car is a hatch back, and always makes rattling noises in the back. It makes a lot more rattling noises when it’s cold! πŸ˜€

While getting the mail, I picked up some more coolant/anti-freeze for the van. Once at home, I topped up the reservoir a bit more. Later today, I’ll run it again for a while.


It’s been over a week since we were able to get the mail, so we had lots waiting for us. Including…

More seeds! Packed by Emma. Thank you, Emma! πŸ˜€

This was from the order I placed as birthday presents for the girls. πŸ˜€ The purple asparagus crowns and the black iris will be shipped later, just before it’s time to plant them, for our zone. As of now, the only seeds outstanding are from my last minute order from Baker Creek. They have been shipped, so it’s now in the hands of the US and Cdn postal systems. We’re not expecting them for quite a while. I just hope we’ll get them early enough to start the spoon tomatoes indoors!

Last night, I used a satellite image of the property to create a line diagram of the inner yard, marking off where the house, storage house, fence lines and trees areas are. After printing it out, I drew in where we have existing beds and a few other details. The girls and I have been going over it, trying to figure out what to plant, where, and sketching it in. There is going to be a fair amount of inter-planting – especially with the Daikon radishes, which will be used to help break up the soil. I was amused to discover this type of radish is known as “pile driver” radishes. πŸ˜€ Among the things we need to consider are the permanent locations. The asparagus, for example, can be expected to produce for 20 years, and the strawberry spinach is self sowing. Once we have a better idea of what we’ll be doing, we’ll make a bigger version of the line diagram to consult as time goes buy. We fully expect to change things up when it comes time to actually plant/transplant, but at least we’ll have a general overview.

Another thing we got today was the catalog I ordered from T&T Seeds. This is the seed catalog from my childhood. πŸ˜€ I’m glad I got the physical catalog, because I find it much easier on the eyes than their website. :-/ There are quite a few things they carry that few others carry. One of them that caught our attention is the Forage Radish. From their website:

Help loosen your soil! Forage Radish or Bio Drilling. White radishes are quickly becoming a popular cover crop, as growers planting them are seeing benefits beyond commonly used cover crops, such as rye and clover. Forage radishes can improve the soil and environment. With taproots that can grow several feet deep, forage radishes bore holes into the ground, loosening the soil, hence giving them the nickname β€œtillage radishes.” The deep roots penetrate many layers of compacted soil, with the thin lower part of the taproot reaching 6 feet or more during the fall. After the cover crop dies in the winter and roots decompose, open root channels can be used by subsequent crop roots to grow through compacted soil layers.

Which is exactly what we need. They also carry sugar beets, which can also be used to break up soil like ours, though that’s not a selling feature. Plus, if we wanted to, we could actually try making our own sugar. Or just use them to feed the deer. At some point, we will be getting animals, so it could be one of the feed crops we can grow. Just one of the possibilities we will keep in mind, over the years.

In going over our map and figuring out where to plant, it really is hitting home how much we’ll need to actually buy a whole lot of soil. We will also have to find a way to efficiently water plots that will be well away from the house. Our current 300 ft of hose will not be enough! Things like drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or even lengths of PVC pipes with holed drilled into them that we can attach a hose to, are things we’re considering. For some things, just burying plastic containers of varying sizes, with judiciously placed holes drilled into them, next to plants that need deep watering are an option. They just need to be filled with water, which will slowly drain into the soil near the plants. We have already been keeping all kinds of containers that can be used that way, ranging in size from small water bottles to 5 gallon water jugs so, for us, that will probably be the easiest option.

At one point, I was amused by the realization that, while we are planning our garden for this year, we are also already planning our garden for next year… and the years after! We’re having a blast with it, too. πŸ™‚

I have one last photo to share with you before I finish this post. It’s completely off topic, but I can’t resist! One of my constant battles with the cats is that, as soon as I get up from the computer (which is frequent), my (very worn out) chair gets instantly occupied by a cat. Usually Cheddar.

Last night, I had this group waiting for me. Beep Beep and her babies, Saffron and Turmeric. πŸ˜€

Those faces! They’re like owls. πŸ˜€

It’s a lot more challenging to remove three cats, since any one I’ removed jumps back the instant I’ve turned my back while removing the next one!

They are certainly entertaining. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Van stuff, and we have emerged… :-D

  1. The “thing” under the driver seat is a clamp used to hold a wire bundle or some sort of tubing in place. Most of the time it seems like there are more clamps than absolutely needed and if one falls off, nothing much will happen.

    From what it looks like, nothing is flopping around, so, in my (probably worthless) opinion, it’s something that can wait until you’re at the garage for some other reason. If the clamp hasn’t fallen off by then, I wouldn’t expect it to take more than a few minutes to replace the bolt that was holding it in place.

    Ask the garage guy if the trouble codes were reset when the repairs were finished. It the trouble codes were not reset after the repair, then you could be seeing “left overs” from before the problem was fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. If I’d noticed it after taking the photo, I would have tried to get a picture of what it might have been attached to. πŸ˜€

      Since the van was up on a lift for part of the time it was being worked on, I’m pretty sure the mechanic would have noticed if something was amiss! I don’t like having anything out of place in the undercarriage that could get caught on things, though. LOL

      I doubt he would have reset the trouble codes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him use any sort of computer diagnostics equipment. In fact, I’ve never seen such technology in the garage at all, and I’ve been through there many times (you have to walk through the garage to get to the office in the back). He’s pretty old school. πŸ˜‰

      My app allows me to reset the codes myself, though. I should do that, then do another scan.

      Thanks again!


  2. Good luck with all those plants and planning! It sounds like you’re already well on your way to a happy garden.
    I can’t get over those delightful cat names. Do you have a long list to pick from, or do you come up with them on the spot?

    Liked by 1 person

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